What the Liberhan Commission was asked to probe
The Commission was appointed by the Union government under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1992 to probe into:
- The sequence of events leading to, and all the facts and circumstances relating to, the occurrences in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex at Ayodhya on 6 December 1992 involving the destruction of the Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid structure;
- The role played by the Chief Minister (of Uttar Pradesh), Members of the Council of Ministers, officials of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and by the individuals, concerned organisations and agencies in, or in connection with, the destruction of the Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid structure;
- The deficiencies in security measures and other arrangements as prescribed or operated in practice by Government of Uttar Pradesh which might have contributed to the events that took place in the Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid complex, Ayodhya town and Faizabad on 6 December 1992;
- The sequence of events leading to, and all the facts and circumstances relating to, the assault on media persons at Ayodhya on 6 December 1992; and
- Any other matters related to the subject of Inquiry.
- It was not within the Liberhan Commission’s purview to enquire into whether the disputed structure was ever a temple which was demolished to build a mosque at the same spot.
- Examining the role of the central government was also not part of the Commission’s mandate.
- The following cards are excerpted from the Liberhan Commission’s Report.
1528-1949: Background of dispute
- In the year 1528 the Mughal emperor, Babar, ordered his commander, Mir Baqi, to erect a mosque at Ayodhya. Protagonists of the [Ram Janma Bhoomi] movement claimed that after demolishing the temple at the birthplace of Ram, Mir Baqi constructed the mosque i.e. the “disputed structure”.
- For centuries, this was a local religious issue confined only to Ayodhya; at the most to the Faizabad Division. It was to later transform into not only a national political issue but also an internationally communal issue, which was to shape the contours of democracy of India.
- The British later divided the area into two parts, one comprising of the structure described by the VHP as the “Babri structure” and the other comprising of the “Ram Chabutra” and “Sita Ki Rasoi”, with a courtyard where Hindus used to perform puja. There were no objections from the Muslims staking the counterclaim prior to the shifting of idols into the disputed structure in 1949.
- Although there was no order restraining the Muslims from going to the disputed structure or from offering namaz therein either by the judiciary or from the administration, yet namaz was not offered at the disputed structure since 1934.
- On December 23, 1949 idols of Ramchandraji (Ram Lalla) with the inscription, ‘Shri Ram’, were installed in the Garbh Griha. As a consequence, an FIR was registered against Abhay Ram, Sideshwar Rao, Shiv Charan Das and 60 others... The Commission need not go into the question whether idols were installed or they had miraculously appeared as some of hard-core fundamentalists and the protagonists of the movement claimed during the course of their evidence.
- Although there was no order restraining the Muslims from going to the disputed structure or from offering namaz therein either by the judiciary or from the administration, yet namaz was not offered at the disputed structure since 1934.
- The District Magistrate KK Nayyar pointed out that there was a public demand for opening the gates of the temple… Post 1949, interestingly enough, the District Magistrate and his wife and even his employee contested election on the ticket of Hindu organisations.
1949-1980: A purely local issue
- From 1949 to 1961 the only claimants were the pujaris or local sants who were litigating in the civil courts...
- There was neither any agitation nor movement nor any coherent demand projected up till 1975.
- In 1967, with the support and participation of the Jan Sangh, a non-Congress government was formed in Uttar Pradesh. No dispute was raised with respect to the disputed structure.
- No party or organisation or association other than individuals like Paramhans Ramchandra Das or his akhada [order] or the Wakf Board ever approached the court or became a party to the litigations either to defend or to prosecute the same. It is thus abundantly clear, uncontroverted and clearly established that the dispute, if at all there was any, remained confined to Ayodhya or the local vicinity.
1980-1985: A local dispute is turned into a national issue
- 1980: The VHP (which) was constituted in 1964 jumped on the Ayodhya bandwagon sometime in 1980. After the 1980s, calls for various andolans, kar sevas were made.
- 1983: The VHP took charge over the management of the dispute and the cause of “liberation” of the alleged temple at Ayodhya in November-December 1983.
- April 1984: VHP constituted a Dharam Sansad as the frontal face for the movement. A Kendriya Marg Darshak Mandal too was constituted as one of the bodies of the VHP, again with no legal status.
- June 1984: The Ram Janmabhoomi Mukti Yagna Samiti or Dharam Sthan Mukti Yagna Samiti was formed.
- October 1984: Another organisational unit [of the VHP] named the Bajrang Dal was constituted.
- October 16, 1984: A Ram-Janaki rath yatra was taken out from Delhi via Prayag on the, reaching Chitrakoot on the 22nd of October 1984... Vociferous demands for the “liberation” of the disputed structure and opening of its locks were made.
- [T]he RSS, VHP and other Hindu organisations and believers in Hinduism were requested to support the movement as... it could not succeed without the support of a party at the national level...
- The RSS and its leadership supported the claim for demolition of the disputed structure and the reconstruction of a temple at Ayodhya issue from the very beginning, directly or indirectly.
1986-1988: Gates of Babri Masjid are unlocked…
- January 1986: The campaign for opening of the locks formally started.
- February 1, 1986: The district judge directed the opening of the locks... The reason for such an order passed by the district judge, as given in his autobiography, makes interesting reading. He made an attempt to convey that [a] monkey inspired or directed him to pass a judicial order.
- February 15, 1986: The Muslims’ All-India Babri Masjid Action Committee was constituted [to challenge] the opening of the locks. Various Muslim organisations like the Babri Masjid Movement [Coordination Committee], Central Action Committee for Restoration of Babri Masjid and various other committees or their affiliates were floated.
- May 19, 1986: Parliament passes the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, “to protect the rights of Muslim women who have been divorced by, or have obtained divorce from, their husbands and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”. [The new legislation nullified the April 1985 judgment of the Supreme Court in the Shah Bano case. Sangh parivar constituents argued that if the law of the land could be changed to appease Muslim religious sentiments, there was every reason why the law should also be changed to respect Hindu religious sentiments].
- 1987: Protagonists on either side of the dispute mobilized the people, held meetings, gave calls for bandhs, etc, throughout 1987. They gave emotional and provocative speeches and made appeals for their respective claims.
- 1988: The Dharam Sansad, in January 1988, at Kumbh at Prayag, declared the details of the programme for shila pujan. Protagonists of the Masjid group decided to oppose it by taking out a long march while the sants decided to oppose it in their meeting held at Hardwar.
- A meeting to review the situation and in order to find a solution and in order to defuse the tension was held by the home minister of India. The leaders of both sides asserted that there was neither any question of negotiation on the Ayodhya issue nor could the problem be solved through the judicial process, as it related to centuries old faith.
1989: BJP jumps on the bandwagon; shilanyas, kar seva
- June 1989: the BJP took a historical decision not only to support the Ayodhya movement but to participate in it.
- August 14, 1989: The Allahabad high court, while declining to injunct the shilanyas and the carrying of shilas from all over the country for laying the foundation stone of the proposed temple directed status quo to be maintained with respect to the disputed site.
- September 22, 1989: A public meeting was held at the Boat Club, Delhi. Warning was issued for launching a bitter struggle if any impediments or hurdles were placed in [the way of] the shilanyas programme or the shila puja programme or in the steps declared by the organisers of the temple construction movement. Provocative slogans were raised and provocative speeches were made without any restraint either in the language and tone or texture.
- October 13, 1989: During the Parliament session, on the 13th of October, all the political parties resolved not to permit or cooperate with the shilanyas. The BJP did not participate in these parliamentary proceedings.
- October 27, 1989: VM Tarkunde [legal luminary and civil libertarian] had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court and sought an injunction against the shilanyas programme. The Supreme Court declined to interfere. The court held that the right to conduct religious processions was a fundamental right and therefore the ceremonial carriage of Shri Ram shilas to Ayodhya cannot be stopped.
- November 5, 1989: Shilanyas was carried out on the rectangular platform at the predetermined spot.
- In all the negotiations, leaders from the VHP, RSS and BJP alone used to participate. At no point of time did any sadhu or sant participate in any negotiation either with Muslims or the governments of the state or the centre.
1990: LK Advani’s bloody yatra
November 2, 1990
- April 30, 1990: The massive and unprecedented rally at the Boat Club served to hype up religious sentiments and sharpen emotions towards the construction of temple movement as well as the disputed structure. Most of the participants in the rally were BJP leaders. The rally succeeded in its object of rallying around more people to the BJP as well as politically uniting the Hindus thereby creating the vote bank which may not have existed hitherto.
- Advani announced the beginning of his rath yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya on the 25th of September 1990. The rath yatra was to reach Ayodhya on the 30th of October 1990, the date fixed for kar seva for the construction of a temple at the disputed site.
- September 25, 1990: The rath yatra was blessed by Morari Bapu and Balasaheb Deoras, the president of the RSS. Earlier, on September 14, 1990, Advani had warned the National Front government [led by Prime Minister VP Singh] that the BJP’s support to the government would be withdrawn if they tried to stop the rath yatra.
- October 22, 1990: Advani was arrested at Samastipur (Bihar) under orders from Laloo Prasad Yadav, then chief minister of Bihar.
: Lakhs of kar sevaks
reached Ayodhya on 30th October, 1990 and 2nd November, 1990. There was indiscriminate firing on the kar sevaks
[under orders of then UP chief minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav] resulting in a large number of casualties, and in view of this development, further activities were suspended. The government forces resorted to firing in order to prevent them from implementing their plans to damage the disputed structure etc.
[November 7, 1990
: The BJP withdrew support to the National Front government. VP Singh faced the vote of no confidence in the Lok Sabha. "What kind of India do you want?" he asked his opponents in Parliament, before losing the vote 142–346. Singh resigned on 7th November 1990].
- December 8, 1990: An attempt to blow up the disputed structure made by one Suresh Kumar was foiled.
1991: BJP comes to power in UP
- March 1991: Elections are declared for Lok Sabha and simultaneously for several state assemblies.
- April 1991: Slogans such as ‘Jo Hindu hit kee baat karega, woh hee desh pe raaj karega’ (‘Only those who protect Hindu interests will rule India’) were shouted at an unprecedented Vishwa Hindu Sammelan held at Boat Club, Delhi. The meeting was attended by the RSS, Hindu religious leaders, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, VHP… BJP’s election manifesto promises Ram Rajya and construction of the temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
- The Congress forms a minority government at the Centre [with PV Narasimha Rao as Prime Minister] while the BJP assumed power in UP [with Kalyan Singh as chief minister], Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and MP. The BJP government [in UP] as well as the party took its success at the hustings as an electoral mandate for construction of the temple after removing all hurdles...
- July 10, 1991: The UP government, under the garb of promoting tourism and providing amenities for visitors, acquired 2.77 acres of land in front of the disputed structure. Out of this 2.77 acres of land sought to be acquired, the VHP claimed ownership over 2.04 acres. The remaining tiny parcel containing the disputed structure was not acquired.
- October 31, 1991: Kar sevaks climbed the domes of the disputed structure by jumping over the security cordons. They were detected and removed from there along with their flags.
- November 15, 1991: The Supreme Court, by an order allowed the [UP] government to take possession of the land but prevented construction of a permanent nature in the complex.
1992: Structure will be demolished, declares VHP
- Up to January 1992, security arrangements [by UP government] were made in coordination with paramilitary forces, central and other available intelligence agencies, etc. After January 1992, these agencies were not taken into confidence and were not even informed of the formation of any security plans for the disputed structure [by UP government].
- March 24, 1992: UP chief minister Kalyan Singh made a public statement to the effect [that] “Irrespective of the fact that the state government stays or goes, the [Ram] Mandir must be constructed”.
- April 1992: The [Union] home secretary and the [Union] home minister expressed concern about the fragile communal situation in the area with the potentiality of serious repercussions.
- April 6, 1992: The Khasa Bara mosque was demolished.
- May 1992: Paramilitary forces and others pointed out that security [around the disputed site] was being diluted.
- July 1992: The call for kar seva was on the 2.77 acres and at the disputed structure, to commence on the 9th of July. Swami Satyanandji [Sant Samaj leader] urged the people for demolition of the structure without bulldozers or permission from the high court.
- Paramhans Ramchandra Das urged the commencement of construction of the temple from the Garbh Griha where idols of Ram Lalla were installed. He and all other sants openly expressed the view that the [disputed] structure should be demolished.
- The security forces were under explicit orders from Chief Minister Kalyan Singh not to use force against the kar sevaks. The police, administration, thus became a silent spectator and a part and parcel of the kar sevaks.
- The VHP started proclaiming by the 7th of July 1992 that the structure would be demolished and a temple would be reconstructed.
- The chief minister assured the home minister of India that the state government was bound to take all appropriate steps at all costs for the protection of the disputed structure.
Build up to the demolition
- There is overwhelming evidence before the commission from which it can be concluded that kar sevaks sadhus and sants, organisers, leaders of the VHP, Paramhans Ramchandra Das, Vinay Katiyar, Acharya Giriraj Kishore and other leaders present in Ayodhya in July 1992 were in a defiant, rebellious and aggressive mood.
- The VHP and Ashok Singhal, sadhus and sants or kar sevaks gathered at the spot and refused to stop construction of the platform [chabutra], undertaken from Singh Dewar, or obey the orders of the high court.
- The BJP leadership and the government of UP failed to stop the construction. They chose to be mute spectators.
- SB Chavan, the home minister of India, informed the Lok Sabha that the UP government had violated the court’s orders. The Allahabad high court refused to stop excavation. The Supreme Court asked for details as to whether any permanent construction had been made.
- July 15, 1992: The high court ordered the construction activity to be stopped. The administration however failed to implement this order.
- July 21, 1992: Kalyan Singh warned the central government against sending central forces or their use against the kar sevaks, as it would lead to a law and order crisis.
‘Kar seva’ suspended for three months
- July 21, 1992: The prime minister wanted the suspension of the kar seva. The [BJP and the] RSS told the prime minister to talk to sants and sadhus for this. The very leaders of the VHP, BJP and RSS who had made the announcement regarding the kar seva now disowned responsibility for it and asked the central government to talk to the sadhus.
- July 23, 1992: The prime minister thereafter held discussions with the sants on the 23rd of July 1992. They refused to implement the Supreme Court’s order and the UP administration refused to use force to implement the same, claiming that it would lead to large-scale violence. It was after the prime minister’s intervention that the kar seva was finally stopped. The prime minister was given three months to resolve the dispute.
- July 31, 1992: Ashok Singhal declared… that any constitutional or court solution, even if found, would not necessarily mean that the same would be accepted by the VHP.
- August 5, 1992: The Supreme Court declined to transfer the land acquisition cases to itself and appointed a local commissioner to inspect the sites and report on any violation of its order.
- August 23, 1992: Kalyan Singh declared that “if the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court with respect to the Ram temple would be against the emotions of Hindus, we will make a separate law for construction of the temple”.
- September 1992: VH Dalmia and Ashok Singhal [top VHP leaders] stated that the temple could not be constructed without demolition of the [Babri] mosque.
- October 25, 1992: Bal Thackeray [Shiv Sena leader] took a decision to participate in the kar seva. It was announced that this was not going to be a mere symbolic kar seva but the actual kar seva at the spot by construction of the temple.
- October 30, 1992: The VHP called and organised a meeting of the Dharam Sansad for deciding the future course of action. The decision was taken to resume the kar seva on the 6th of December 1992.
November 1992: Symbolic kar seva would be a setback, says RSS
- November 1992: The chief minister [Kalyan Singh] refused to associate the CRPF or the IB in reviewing security. Nevertheless, the central government stationed 195 companies of paramilitary forces near Ayodhya in case of need.
- The Supreme Court declined to appoint the central government as the receiver in view of the undertaking that the kar seva would be carried out in accordance with the court’s orders; and the state government’s agreement to stop any construction activity.
- The RSS had made it clear that it considered that a mere symbolic kar seva would be a setback to the campaign.
- Kalyan Singh protested against the stationing of paramilitary forces near Ayodhya, being in violation of the federal structure provided by the Constitution of India.
- November 20, 1992: the Supreme Court in its order observed, “Venugopal [counsel for UP government] submitted that the state government is second to none in its anxiety to ensure the enforcement of the orders of this court.”
- It was reported in the media that the IB had, in its dispatches dated the 22nd of November, stated that the Sangh intended to demolish the structure.
- November 28, 1992: The UP government undertook to comply with the [Supreme] Court’s order to the effect that no construction of permanent or temporary nature would take place though to assuage the religious feelings of Ram bhakts construction at some other place would take place. No construction machinery, material, [would] be moved in or around the acquired land...
- The high court’s interim orders restraining any construction on the 2.77 acres of acquired land were in force in the acquisition writ petitions.
- VHP leaders, Chinmayanand and Vijaya Raje Scindia, filed affidavits in the Supreme Court undertaking that neither any construction would be done nor any construction material would be carried in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex. They accepted that the kar seva would only be symbolic.
‘We will adopt guerilla tactics’
- November 24, 1992: Champat Rai, the local manager for the construction of the Ram temple, issued a statement on the 24th of November in a conference at the Bhagwadacharya Smarak in Ayodhya that it had been decided to adopt a guerrilla strategy for the 6th of December. His words, “Guerrilla shaily apnayenge kar seva mein” [We’ll adopt guerrilla tactics during kar seva]”, were published by the media on the 25th of November. There is no reason to disbelieve this part of the statement.
- November 25, 1992: In a published statement, Kalyan Singh stated that “the centre is out to create civil war-like situation in the state by sending central forces without our consent. Do they want clash between the central and state forces?
- Intelligence agencies reported that the Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena were vying with each other for the “fame” of blowing up the disputed structure and this fact was within the knowledge of the VHP. The Shiv Sainiks and VHP cadres were practising archery under the tutelage of Krishna Kumar Pandey. The Shiv Sena cadres swore an oath at Sarayu river to demolish the disputed structure in the presence of local leaders and Vinay Katiyar, etc.
- Kalyan Singh called an emergency meeting of ministers and directed them to mobilise kar sevaks in UP, at least 10 people from each gram panchayat of which [there] were 75,000.
- November 28, 1992: Activists of the Shiv Sena led by Satish Pradhan, MP… met at Faizabad on the 28th of November. The decision to commence actual kar seva by demolishing the mosque and undertaking construction of a temple rather than symbolic kar seva was taken.
- The meeting was reported by intelligence agencies to the higher bureaucracy as well as the political executive and was even referred to in the report dated the 1st of December 1992. The government did not even pay lip service, much less respond to this threat upon the revelation of this open secret.
- The governor of UP sent his assessment about Ayodhya that the prevailing situation was pregnant with threat to the disputed structure. He however advised against the imposition of president’s rule.
Local mosques and mazaars attacked
- Kar sevaks entered the old mosque and stoned the scooter-borne peace rally organised by the Congress. The mazaar [tomb] of Maqi Shah, Babri Mazaar and another mazaar at Ram Katha Kunj were damaged and graves levelled. I find that these facts are conclusively established It was obvious and categorically admitted that no effort to restrict, check or regulate the number of kar sevaks in Ayodhya or Faizabad was made.
- It is clearly discernable from the statements, and on consideration of the evidence, that the RSS and its leaders were actively and passively conniving at the damage caused to mazaars and mosques, graves, and the defiling of graves.
- The fact of the damage to mazaars and mosques, graves, and defiling of graves, was not disputed. Even the administration sent a report and an FIR [first information report] was duly registered.
- Apprehension of demolition of the disputed structure was corroborated by the reports of damage to other Muslim properties.
- December 1, 1992: The district magistrate informed the government that about 35 unknown people in Ayodhya town damaged three graves situated in Kuber Tila and on the corner of the southern side road of the State Park. At a distance of one furlong from these places, one mazaar of Kamli Shah and two mazaars of Hazrat Shah Pahar Shah and Hazrat Makki Shah Rahmatullah Allehe were damaged.
December 1992: Writing on the wall
- December 1, 1992: The chief secretary expressed his apprehension about the security arrangements and feared damage to the disputed structure… He not only apprised the chief minister about it but held a meeting with him on the 1st of December.
- It was reported that there were no barricades towards the 2.77 acres of land on the 1st of December, which made the structure easily accessible.
- December 2, 1992: The DGP, UP, in a meeting with the chief minister expressed his apprehensions about the security of the disputed structure on account of the large crowd in the vicinity of the disputed structure.
- It was pointed out to the prime minister [by a delegation of political leaders] that he should not believe the RSS’s claims about their ability to control and discipline the crowds.
- December 2, 1992: JS Bisht, the commandant of the CRPF, expressed concerns about the possibility of demolition of the disputed structure through a letter.
- The apprehension about demolition and the inadequacy of the deployed forces was too obvious and perceivable. The forces were numerically far inferior compared to the number of frenzied kar sevaks present for the construction of the temple.
- The chief minister declined to deploy or use the available paramilitary forces and continued with airing his hopes that the organisers would be content with the symbolic and peaceful kar seva.
- December 4, 1992: On 4th December, 1992 prominent leaders of the Shiv Sena reached Ayodhya. They made it known through the media that they would work for the construction of the Mandir despite the decision of the Dharam Sansad and the undertaking given to the Supreme Court for symbolic kar seva.
- Anju Gupta [security officer attached to LK Advani], referring to intelligence reports, stated that it was definite that an attack would be made on the disputed structure on [the morning of] 6th December, 1992, during kar seva.
- [T]here is some circumstantial evidence and some statements do point [to] the conclusion that the kar sevaks were trained in demolition.
‘Mitti nahin khiskayenge, Dhancha tod kar jayenge’
- December 4, 1992: The paramilitary forces had on the 4th of December expressed apprehension that the situation was going out of control… The district authorities refused to give any specific instructions.
- December 5, 1992: A German TV crew was attacked at Ram Katha Kunj for allegedly airing an objectionable news story.
- Even Chinmayanandji, who had given an undertaking to the Supreme Court for symbolic kar seva was publicly proclaiming that construction of the temple would be carried out. A recording of this speech was produced before the commission, where he can be heard denouncing the undertakings as irrelevant.
- Some of the slogans which became extremely popular and were regularly heard during the campaign at Ayodhya during kar seva, especially in December, are: “Ram Lalla hum aaye hain, Mandir yahin banayenge [Ram Lalla we are here, We’ll build your temple here]”; “Mitti nahin khiskayenge, Dhancha tod kar jayenge [We won’t just dig up mud, Won’t leave till we demolish the structure]”; “Badi khushi ki baat hai, Police hamare saath hai [Oh happiness, the police are on our side]”; “Jab-jab Hindu jaage, Tab-tab mullah bhaage [When the Hindus awaken, Then the mullahs flee]”; “Jo roke mandir nirman, Usko bhejo Pakistan [Whoever blocks temple construction, Send them off to Pakistan]”; “Jis Hindu ka khoon na khola, Woh khoon nahin pani hai [A Hindu whose blood does not boil, It is water not blood]”.
- [Stating] that there was information available with respect to extremists and subversive elements likely to cause the damage [to Babri masjid], the Union home secretary advised the chief minister that the state government should use the 133 companies of central forces. The chief minister stated that the police and the concerned organizations had assured that no damage will be caused to the structure.
- December 5, 1992: Acharya Dharmendra Dev again declared that they would follow the instructions of sants and not the Supreme Court.
- The chief minister, Kalyan Singh, once again, and in writing this time, ordered against the use of firearms specifically on the 6th of December.
- The commission is of the considered opinion that the security apparatus was non-existent in Ayodhya on the 6th of December 1992.
December 6, 1992; ‘Ek dhakka aur do, Babri Masjid tod do’
- At about 9:30 a.m., the home secretary of India informed the DGP of the ITBP [Indo-Tibetan Border Police] to keep the paramilitary forces ready in case any request for assistance was received from the state government and to deploy the forces without waiting for formal orders from the [Union] ministry of home affairs.
- At 10:30 a.m., LK Advani and MM Joshi accompanied by Vinay Katiyar, along with the sadhus and sants followed by Ashok Singhal, reached the platform meant for the puja and symbolic kar seva.
- The administration pretentiously and falsely reassured the assembled journalists that everything was under control and they should not waste their time.
- At about noon a teenage kar sevak vaulted onto the dome and thereby signalled the breaking of the outer cordon. Other kar sevaks, wielding pickaxes, hammers, iron rods and shovels, started scaling the Ram Dewar and over the barriers of the outer, inner and isolation cordons, from the east, west and south... They stormed the disputed structure. The police deployed at the spot gave their canes and shields to the kar sevaks, who brandished them openly.
- The kar sevaks’ assault on the disputed structure started around 12:15 p.m. They first entered the Garbh Griha and carefully took the idols and cash box, etc to a safe place. Continuous brickbatting at the security forces gave ample cover to the kar sevaks assaulting the disputed structure. This was a planned act in order to give the impression of spontaneous chaos… The kar sevaks on the domes started breaking the upper plaster, etc with hammers.
- The demolition was accomplished by smashing holes inside the walls. Ropes were inserted through these holes in the walls under the domes; the walls were pulled down with these ropes, bringing down the domes as well.
- The kar sevaks succeeded in pulling down the first dome at 1:55 p.m. This breakthrough sent the hardcore protagonists like Sadhvi Ritambhara and the other sadhus, sants and leaders into ecstasy. The state police and the PAC took no action throughout.
- The enthusiastic chanting of inflammatory slogans, including “Ek dhakka aur do, Babri Masjid tod do [Give another push, Bring down the Babri mosque]”, acted like the proverbial war cry and these were raised to encourage the kar sevaks in their dastardly deeds. Slogans against Muslims were also raised. Sarcastic remarks were made against the high court and the Supreme Court...
Make-shift Ram temple on ruins of Babri Masjid
- Kar sevaks assaulted the journalists and photographers present in and around the Ram Janmabhoomi complex and the disputed structure and at Manas Bhavan, etc. The assault coincided with the crowd entering the cordon. In other words, the journalists and the structure were attacked simultaneously. The kar sevaks snatched film rolls and smashed cameras and beat up journalists and photographers present in the complex or outside.
- The idols and cash box removed to safe places before the kar sevaks went inside the domes were placed at their original place at about 7 p.m. The construction of a temporary, makeshift temple commenced at about 7:30 p.m. through kar seva.
- Chief Minister Kalyan Singh announced at 6:45 p.m. that he had resigned. The central government on the other hand claimed that the chief minister, Kalyan Singh, was dismissed.
- A cabinet meeting was called and President’s Rule imposed in the state at 6:30 p.m.
- The district magistrate, in this chaotic scenario, did nothing. Nor did the galaxy of senior officers named in my report, including AK Sharan, SP Gaur and CK Malik, etc, take any steps to stop the demolition or [the assault on] journalists.
- The whole conduct and acts of the chief minister, Kalyan Singh, was intended to delay the deployment of para-military forces or the intervention of the central government before the object of demolition was completely achieved.
Hindutva’s double speak
- There was a mixed reaction amongst the leadership of the movement. LK Advani and other more sober leaders were taken aback by the demolition. LK Advani expressed his reaction in the following words, “I feel proud about my participation in the movement though with respect of the incident of 6th December, 1992, VHP and RSS leaders present with me signed the statement describing the demolition as unfortunate. I described myself as dejected and downcast on that day.”
- Others like Sadhvi Ritambhara, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti, Paramhans Ramchandra Das, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, Sakshiji Maharaj, Acharya Dharmendra Dev, Swami Chinmayanand, Mahant Avaidyanath, Praveen Togadia, etc, were not only jubilant, claiming it to be their success, but went into ecstasy along with their followers. Religious leaders were openly jubilant during and after the process of demolition. Their excitement and joy was shared by the kar sevaks present.
- Kalyan Singh’s reaction was, “It was like a badly inflated balloon which burst. All other political parties, particularly centre, are to be blamed for frustration of kar sevaks, who forced them to go desperate. They should arrest me because, after all, I fulfilled one of the major objectives of our party and have redeemed the party’s election manifesto.” It is an open secret that the leadership of the RSS or BJP asserted that the political gains achieved by the BJP in the process of demolition of the disputed structure, particularly consolidating the Hindus, should not be wasted. It should be assimilated and converged into votes for the BJP or for the political parties reputed to be the protectors of Hindus.
Frenzied mobs target Muslims
- Communal riots had commenced at Ayodhya at about 3:30 p.m. Riots were carried out by another group of kar sevaks [different from the] group of kar sevaks who were carrying out the demolition. The DGP again informed the chief minister and others in the hierarchy that the situation could not be brought under control without resorting to firing.
- It was between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. when communal frenzy broke out in the town of Ayodhya. Houses of the Muslims were [set] on fire. Peeyush Srivastava, additional SSP [Faizabad], stated a deliberate and patent lie before the commission that the communal frenzy broke out because of the firing from the house of a Muslim on the kar sevaks. This was stated in the face of the evidence on record. He knew, of course, that compared to the lakhs of kar sevaks present in Ayodhya, the Muslims were in insignificant numbers and that this theory would not even be credible for a moment. The theory for the cause of the riots stated by Peeyush Srivastava is not only false but consistent with a pattern of behaviour of persons like him seeking to build [personal] defences or for their mentors.
On the role of Hindutva organisations
- The amounts transacted exceeded many tens of crores of rupees which were utilised for affecting the events of December 6th, 1992. The utilisation of such huge monies is a categorical pointer to the planning and pre-planning carried out for the entire process of the movement commencing with mobilisation onwards right up till the very demolition itself.
- The mobilisation of the kar sevaks and their convergence to Ayodhya and Faizabad was neither spontaneous nor voluntary. It was well orchestrated and planned. In conformity with the army-like discipline of the organisations like the RSS, the manner in which the arrangements and mobilisation was carried out does not corroborate the theory that the convergence or the mobilisation of such a large number of kar sevaks [on December 6, 1992] was for symbolic kar seva alone.
- The single-minded agenda of the RSS and the VHP and the extremely patient and focused manner in which the handful of ideologues and theologians manipulated the common masses and turned them into a frenzied mob capable of acts of the greatest depravity, is unparalleled in recent times.
- The RSS, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, BJP, etc and their inter se relationship have been subjected to a detailed study in my report, and their relationship with the de jure powers. These organisations are collectively an immense and awesome entity with a shrewd brain, a wide encompassing sweep and the crushing strength of a mob.
- Their [sangh parivar constituents] infiltration of the government and of the administration of the state of Uttar Pradesh was complete. Its traces and remnants are still thriving all over the country and still pose as grave a threat as ever. It had and continues to spread in scope to encompass every pillar of the constitutional system.
- The blame or the credit for the entire temple construction movement at Ayodhya must necessarily be attributed to the sangh parivar.
On the role of UP government
- The destruction of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure was carried out in a duplicitous and under-handed manner. It was an act not worthy of a democratically elected government of a constituent state of this great nation.
- The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh [BJP’s Kalyan Singh] and his cabinet members consciously allowed the writ of the extra-constitutional authority, i.e. the RSS, to run in the state. All the steps taken by the state or the sangh parivar, BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena or the Dharam Sansad, Kendriya Marg Darshak Mandal, had the implied consent of the RSS or those RSS members who had been “lent” to the BJP. The chief minister and his cabinet were the proverbial insiders who caused the collapse of the entire system.
- Kalyan Singh, his ministers and his handpicked bureaucrats… denuded the state of every legal, moral and statutory restraint and wilfully enabled and facilitated the wanton destruction and the ensuing anarchy.
- The parallel government run by the RSS has also been exposed and analysed in my report. There is no manner of doubt admissible in the culpability and responsibility of the chief minister, his ministers and his cohorts who were hand-picked to occupy selected posts.
- The [security apparatus] was shackled, hobbled and rendered nugatory by a systemic programme of scaling down the security measures which would be deemed insufficient even in normal circumstances to regulate even a peaceful crowd, much less deal with unexpected exigencies, natural or otherwise, let alone in the extraordinary conditions which had been deliberately built up and precipitated leading up to the 6th of December 1992.
- The police and the bureaucrats of the state not just turned a blind eye to the misadventures of the polity but actively connived and curried favour with the chief minister and the sangh parivar by systematically paralysing the state machinery. Their sins are highlighted by their being rewarded with plum postings after the demolition as well as tickets for contesting elections
- December 6, 1992 saw a state of Uttar Pradesh unwilling and unable to uphold the majesty of the law. The ennui flowed from the very office of the chief minister downwards and infected the state’s minions down till the bottom.
On the role of Central government/courts
- Chief Minister Kalyan Singh stood on guard against the possibility of any pre-emptive or preventive action by the central government or the Supreme Court of India or the other courts or any other institution. He and his trusted lieutenants spared no lie before the highest authorities of the land to befool them and to tie their hands with the niceties of our constitutional democracy.
- The central government was crippled by the failure of the intelligence agencies to provide an analysis of the situation. It stayed its hand, deferring to the Hon’ble Supreme Court which had taken up the matter and was dealing with it by giving appropriate directions. The Supreme Court was in turn misled by the pretentious undertakings given to it by the Uttar Pradesh government and the leadership of the movement and the all-is-well reports by its rapporteur, Tej Shankar.
- The only non-manageable variable – from the sangh parivar’s point of view – was the possible deployment of central forces in the state, either at the behest of the central government or sanctioned by the Supreme Court. This threat was also neutralised by senior and well-respected individuals stating blatant lies on oath before the Supreme Court, apart from protesting against even the stationing of central paramilitary forces… for the security of the disputed structure.
- Even the forces earlier demanded by the state government, and sent by the central government, for security purposes were intentionally taken away from the scene and deployed at faraway places under the garb of meeting the threat of terrorism.
- The role of the Supreme Court’s observer in not alerting the court to the clearly unfolding duplicity is also something that raises concerns about the impartiality and objectivity of the officer who was hand-picked by the high court of Uttar Pradesh. Even at the moment that the domes were being pulled down he was not at the spot, having been delayed by his family members whom he had brought along to witness the spectacle.
- The intransigent stance of the high court of Uttar Pradesh, the obdurate attitude of the governor, the inexplicable irresponsibility of the Supreme Court’s observer and the short-sightedness of the Supreme Court itself are fascinating and complex stories, the depths of which I must not plumb.
On planned targeting of the media
- The authors of the entire campaign were under no illusions about the illegality and immorality of their intended actions… They were alert to the possibility of the top leadership of the BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena, etc being subjected to censure on the basis of any hard evidence which might be forthcoming.
- To frustrate the attempts of future investigations, including efforts by commissions like this one, the leadership at the spot had evolved a common strategy to deny the world an accurate record of the unfolding events.
- The first step in this direction was to ascertain the identity of the journalists who were present at the spot. The accreditation of the media was entrusted to their own cadres who were thereby able to create and maintain accurate records of the media presence.
- The memories and notes of the reporters could be – and were – denied later on. But photographs and video recordings could have proven damning for the leadership. Photojournalists therefore became recipients of especially violent treatment at the hands of the kar sevaks. They were physically prevented from taking photographs or videotaping the demolition; their equipment was smashed and their exposed films were ripped open and ruined. Precious few photographs or recordings of the incidents thus managed to surface.
- The attack on the media is in itself an admission by the perpetrators of the events of December 6, 1992 that they were aware of the illegality of their acts.
- It is also established by the evidence on record that kar sevaks attacked the media personnel at the same time as the commencement of the assault on the disputed structure. There was no provocation offered by the media, which was sought to be stated as the cause of these attacks.
- It would be unsatisfactory to attribute these attacks to the average kar sevak. These were preplanned attacks and had been demonstrably assigned to a specialized team of RSS cadre and was coordinated and guided by the effective leadership at the spot.
On Standards of culpability
- For the purpose of quantifying the culpability, the various persons and organisations named in this report at various places have been divided into three groups.
- The first group represents those who bear the primary and the greatest responsibility for the events of December 6, 1992.
- The second group consists of those who bear physical, ideological and intellectual responsibility. Those who have been put in the second category in these conclusions are referred to as “pseudo-moderates” in contrast to the radicals forming part of the first group. These persons and organisations were not decision-makers and could not change the course charted by those bearing primary responsibility. Nevertheless, without their sins of commission or omission, the situation would not have deteriorated as much as it did. These include those who portrayed the benign face of the Ayodhya campaign and gave false reassurances to the courts, the people and the nation as a whole.
- There are also those who bear tertiary responsibility for the situation. These people may or may not have been associated with the sangh parivar or had any influence over the situation at all. However, it was their sworn and statutory duty to prevent exactly the kind of events which took place around the 6th of December 1992. They were either required by their statutory duties as officers of the state, or as responsible leaders of the people, to prevent or at the very least to register vociferous protests, in which they failed. Their complicity stems from their sins of omission rather than of commission.
- Group 1: The blame or the credit for the entire temple construction movement at Ayodhya must necessarily be attributed to the sangh parivar. The sangh parivar had spent long years and mobilised its immense media clout to numb the sensibilities of the masses and at the very least to ensure the complete absence of resistance to its designs. The attempts by the pseudo-moderate elements even within the parivar were predictably of little significance and were destined to fail, whether by design or otherwise. As the inner core of the parivar, the top leadership of the RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and the BJP bear primary responsibility.
- Group2: The commission, having had the benefit of tens of thousands of pages worth of press reports, books, official records and documentation and having analysed many hours of audio and video recordings and having observed the witnesses, is unable to hold even these pseudo-moderates innocent of any wrongdoings. It cannot be assumed even for a moment that LK Advani, AB Vajpayee or MM Joshi did not know the designs of the sangh parivar. They were party to the decisions which had been taken. The BJP was and remains an appendage of the RSS which had the purpose only of providing an acceptable veneer to the less popular decisions and a facade for the brash members of the sangh parivar. The much repeated and much denied remarks attributed to Govindacharya, who called Vajpayee a mukhota, or mask, may be more appropriately applied to the BJP’s top leadership at the time collectively. Without leaders like Joshi, Advani and Vajpayee, the RSS might have been able to achieve de facto clout but would not have been able to legitimise its hold on the Indian system by translating that clout into political success.
- Group 3: The decay and erosion in the values of the civil service were all too apparent in Uttar Pradesh in the years leading up to 1992. The civil service in the state failed in its primary responsibility to provide good governance and actively abetted the demolition of every democratic safeguard provided in the Constitution. I have no hesitation in holding that they became a part and parcel of the political par ties governing at a particular point of time and actively participated in achieving the election manifesto and perpetuating the reign of the political party in power, even at the cost of their colleagues. They attempted and succeeded in achieving this objective and reaped the benefit of plum post-retirement offices and even gubernatorial appointments.
On role of Muslim leadership
- While the RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and the BJP brought the temple construction movement to the front burner and caused it to boil over, the fanatic Muslim leadership making the counterclaim were either completely complacent and had no substantial or effective leadership or were simply incompetent in projecting their own lopsided counterview to the people throughout the half century leading up to the 6th of December 1992.
- The Muslim leadership provided the rabid Hindu ideologues sufficient cause to instill fear into the common citizen of India. Whether the political Muslim leadership represented the views of the average Muslim citizen of India is highly doubtful.
- It is impossible to fight a war or to recruit warriors without the presence of an adversary. The presence of the enemy is the prerequisite for unrest and discord. The Muslim leadership wittingly or unwittingly fulfilled this requirement for the founders of the RSS and the VHP.
- The failure of the Muslim leadership could not by itself be responsible for the events of December 1992 but the sins of omission of the Muslim leadership certainly made the sangh parivar’s task much easier.
- This commission holds these organisations and individuals guilty at a tertiary level, for their failure to effectively champion the cause of their constituents, and of the neutrals, and for their failure as an effective democratic opposition.
On role of the media
- The media was a protagonist in the build-up to the events of December 6th, 1992. It was also a victim of the events of the day. A part of the media lent itself willingly to being used throughout the Ayodhya campaign. The inflammatory speeches of the more vocal elements were gleefully reported and sensationalised.
- The media reports of the time, as well as the subsequent political careers of those journalists, reveal a clear bias in the press in either direction. The media was polarized and was perceived to be friendly and inimical to the interests of the parivar.
Who are to blame?
For leading the country to the brink of communal discord, this commission finds the following persons [among a total of 68] culpable:
- Lal Krishna Advani (Leader, BJP)
- AB Vajpayee (Leader, BJP)
- Murli Manohar Joshi (Leader, BJP)
- Pramod Mahajan (Leader, BJP)
- Sunder Singh Bhandari (Leader, BJP)
- Vijaya Raje Scindia (Leader, BJP)
- Kalraj Mishra (President, Uttar Pradesh unit of BJP)
- Shankersinh Vaghela (President, Gujarat BJP, Leader, BJP)
- Swami Sachidanand Sakshi alias Sakshiji Maharaj (Leader, BJP)
- Ashok Singhal (Leader, VHP)
- Praveen Togadia (Leader, VHP)
- Vishnu Hari Dalmia (Leader, VHP)
- Acharya Giriraj Kishore (Leader, VHP)
- Swami Chinmayanand (Leader, VHP)
- Mahant Paramhans Ramchandra Das (Leader, VHP)
- Vinay Katiyar (Leader, Bajrang Dal)
- Uma Bharti (Leader, VHP)
- Rajendra Singh, Professor alias Rajju Bhaiya (Leader, RSS)
- KS Sudarshan (Leader, RSS)
- HV Seshadri (Leader, RSS)
- Kushabhau Thakre (Leader, RSS)
- Govindacharya (Leader, RSS)
Mahant Avaidyanath (Leader, Hindu Mahasabha)
Ministers (UP government)
- Bal Thackeray (Leader, Shiv Sena)
- Jai Bhagwan Goyal (Leader, Shiv Sena)
- Moreshwar Dinanath Save (Leader, Shiv Sena)
- Morpanth Pingale (Shiv Sena)
- Satish Pradhan (Leader, Shiv Sena)
- Youdh Nath Pandey (Leader, Shiv Sena)
Civil Servants (UP government)
- Kalyan Singh (Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh)
- Brahm Dutt Dwivedi (Revenue Minister, Uttar Pradesh)
- Lalji Tandon (Energy Minister, Uttar Pradesh)
- RK Gupta (Finance Minister, Uttar Pradesh)
- Rajendra Gupta (Minister, Uttar Pradesh)
- Surya Pratap Shahi (State Minister, Uttar Pradesh)
(Police officers) (UP government)
- VK Saxena (Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh)
- Prabhat Kumar (Principal Secretary, Home)
- Alok Sinha (Secretary, Tourism)
- SP Gaur (Commissioner, Faizabad division)
- RN Srivastava (District Magistrate, Faizabad)
Dharam Sansad/ Sant Samaj
- SVM Tripathi (Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh)
- AK Sharan (Inspector-General of Police, Lucknow zone)
- US Bajpai (Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Faizabad)
- DB Rai (Senior Superintendent of Police, Faizabad district)
- Akhilesh Mehrotra (Additional Superintendent of Police, Faizabad)
- Acharya Dharmendra Dev (Member, Dharam Sansad)
- Mahant Nritya Gopal Das (Leader, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas)
- Ram Vilas Vedanti (Leader, Sant Samaj)
- Sadhvi Ritambhara (Leader, Sant Samaj)
- Swami Vamdevji (Leader, Sant Samaj)