On the 25th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition, security forces across the country are on high alert after the Centre issued an advisory asking States to maintain peace and ensure that there is no incident of communal violence.
On Tuesday, the Hyderabad Police conducted a flag march at a few sensitive locations in the evening. The police also clamped prohibitory orders in the city till December 7 to maintain peace and public order. No rallies, dharnas or public meetings will be held in the city without police permission.
“The South Zone Police today conducted a flag march with two teams of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and six platoons of the Telangana State Special Police.
“Additional DCP (South Zone), eight ACPs, 30 Inspectors and 75 Sub-Inspectors took part in the exercise,” a release from the Hyderabad Police said.
The Mughal-era structure was razed to the ground in 1992 by hundreds of Kar Sevaks. The event had set off riots in Mumbai, then Bombay, after protests against the demolition turned violent. Two years prior to the demolition, in 1990, when a group of Kar Sevaks partially damaged the mosque, the event had triggered riots in Hyderabad. Over 200 people died in one of the deadliest communal clashes the country has seen.
Babri Masjid demolition anniversary highlights:
4:36 pm The Sunni Waqf Board must be congratulated for their brave stand on the matter and disassociating themselves from the statement of Kapil Sibal ji: PM Modi
2.00 pm: On the day of Babri anniversary, in an apparent effort to exploit Muslim anger, an affiliate of al-Qaeda in Kashmir has called on Indian Muslims to “join the fields of the jihad”.
In the message, Ansar Ghazwa ’tul Hind argues strongly against democratic politics, calling on Muslims to “beware the Congress and BJP, the Samajwadi Party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Trinamul Congress or Bahujan Samaj Party, for all are only faces of tyranny”.
The message is also directed at audiences in Pakistan, pointing to military ruler General Pervez Musharraf’s assault on the Islamist-controlled Lal Masjid in Islamabad. “The Babri Masjid and the Lal Masjid were one, and those who extinguished them were also one, both idol-worshippers”.
1.30 pm: Meanwhile, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad criticised Kapil Sibal, who was representing the Sunni Waqf Board in the Ayodhya case, for requesting the Supreme Court to postpone the matter till 2019.
“As a lawyer, Kapil Sibal can argue any matter but he should not forget that he has been the law minister in the past. What does he mean, when he says don’t hear the matter till 2019 as it will have an impact outside? It is unfair and in many ways irresponsible,” he was quoted by ANI as saying.
1.00 pm: The main litigants in the Ayodhya dispute are:
Nirmohi Akhara sect: They are a group of ascetics who are devotees of Lord Ram.
Sunni Central Wakf Board, UP: It is an elected body maintenance the maintainance and control of several properties donated for religious or charitable purposes.
Ramlala Virajman: The idol of Lord Ram placed at the site after the Babri Masjid demolition.
12.30 pm: Congress leader Manish Tewari writes: “Babri Masjid dispute never about religion, but politics”. Click here to read the full piece.
12.00 pm: Here is an excerpt from today’s editorial: “It was an act of vandalism against a mosque and against India’s Constitution. On December 6, 1992, when the “kar sevaks” felled the Babri masjid in Ayodhya, they also demolished the assurance that vitally underpins the compact between the people and the state — that, as a matter of course, and when the going gets tough, and especially when it gets tough, the rule of law will prevail.” Read the full piece here
11.30 am: In today’s edition of The Indian Express, Pratab Bhanu Mehtra writes: “Babri demolition assaulted secularism, Hinduism. Consequences are still to play out fully.”
Read the full piece here
10.40 am: In 1992, before he became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath was a 20-year-old Mathematics student. His predecessor, Kalyan Singh, now Governor of Rajasthan, had promised to provide security to the mosque. He also submitted an affidavit before the Supreme Court saying the State would only allow the symbolic Kar Seva, which means voluntary labour. His assurances quickly evaporated as hundreds of Kar Sevaks stormed the mosque and razed it to the ground. Meanwhile, Yogi Adityanath has kept the temple issue alive by organising Diwali celebrations on a grand scale in Ayodhya.
10.30 am: Security has been tightened in and around Ayodhya to avoid any incident of communal tension. Paramilitary troops have also been deployed at sensitive locations.
10.20 am: In December 1992, reporter Rakesh Sinha and photographer Praveen Jain chronicled the demolition of the Babri Masjid – events that led to it and the violence in its wake. Their reports and photographs led the Liberhan Commission to call them as key eyewitnesses. Twenty five years later, they return to Ayodhya to track the new battlelines in an enduring conflict. Read the full coverage on ‘Returning to Ayodhya’ here.
10.00 am: On the eve of the anniversary, the Supreme Court began final hearing in the Ayodhya dispute case. The court rejected the Sunni Waqf Board’s plea seeking the hearing to be postponed to July 2019. The Waqf Board, represented by Kapil Sibal, also questioned the “hurry” in concluding the hearing in the case. He requested the court to transfer the matter to a Constitution Bench.
Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah demanded the Congress to spell out their stand on Ayodhya after Sibal sought to delay the hearing.
9.30 am: On December 6, 1992, the mosque was brought down and an idol of Lord Ram was hastily installed on top of the debris. L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti were in Ayodhya on the day of the demolition. The three are accused of instigating the crowds and have been charged with conspiracy. A special CBI court is hearing the case.
The event triggered mass protests in Mumbai, which later turned violent. Over 200 people died in the riots that followed the demolition.
Events prior to the demolition: In 1989, Lal Krishna Advani, then BJP national president, embarked on a nation-wide rath yatra in support of fringe groups demanding that a temple for Lord Ram be built on the site of Babri Masjid.
The yatra succeeded in mobilising hundreds of Kar Sevaks across the country, who had later descended in Ayodhya. In 1990, at least 16 Kar Sevaks were killed in police firing after they partially damaged Babri Masjid. This resulted in large-scale communal clashes in Hyderabad. Over 200 people died and scores were injured as result of the firing.