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Startling revelations about the demolition of the Babri mosque

Except Mumbai’s Mid-Day every Indian newspaper played blind to this startling news!

India's current Home Minister LK Advani, who led his Hindu ultra nationalist party, BJP, to power on the wave of the cry to build a 'Ram Temple' at the site of the Babri Masjid and personally oversaw its demolition on 6 December 1992, has been claiming all these years that he is not responsible for the demolition. He and his camp followers made many wild claims during these past nine years: that the central government of Narasimha Rao is responsible for the demolition, that the rivalry between certain Congress leaders led to the demolition, that Pakistan military intelligence (ISI) people provoked the mob to go on rampage, that Advani was in fact exhorting the masses not to demolish… 

All this goes on while recorded evidence shows that this man led the symbolic religious caravan (rath yatra) across the country, which left behind a trail of anti-Muslims riots killing over 3000 Muslims and burning and looting their properties in many states, that on the fateful day Advani was sitting on a platform from where slogans like 'ek dhakka aur do, Babri Masjid tod do' (give another push, demolish the Babri Mosque) were being raised… 

This dubious movement led to the rise of the fortunes of the BJP from just two seats in Parliament for decades to close to 180 seats (out of the total strength of 545), and now for the last three years this party is ruling India heading a humpty-dumpty coalition of discordant parties. Headed by Justice Liberhan, a judicial enquiry is going on in the Babri demolition case since 16 December 1992. The BJP people have grossly misused its platform to air their biases, misinformation and lies. In government they have tried to change the secular outlook of the State and have been trying to effect changes in every department and field of life, especially culture and education. 

In previous appearances before the Liberhan Commission Advani has uttered many a conflicting remarks: once he claimed that the demolition was the most agonising moment of his life, in another sitting he said the Ram Temple movement was a matter of pride for Hindus. In yet another appearance he confessed that the Babri demolition helped his party consolidate its vote bank.. 

The message all-along has been that the party was not responsible for the demolition. Wild claims have been made by BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal people since the demolition. The fact is that the demolition was the culmination of a decade-long movement by people of a certain hitherto unpopular political stream which came to realise that by raising the issue of the Ram Temple they can mobilise the Hindu voters for their political party. In the process they achieved their goal but also polarised and poisoned the Indian society like never before. So much so that even if this ilk somehow disappears from the scene India will need decades to undo the hatred and disharmony created by this movement.

Now a source from within Advani's own household has given a big lie to his misinoformation campaign. Gauri Advani, his daughter-in-law, has said in a statement to the Liberhan Commission that her father-in-law conspired with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vinay Katiyar, the then leader of the militant youth outfit, Bajrang Dal, to demolish the Babri Masjid. 'Iska kaam kar do.… Kya, Babri Masjid ka kalank nahin mit sakta?' [Finish this off.. Is the blot of the Babri Mosque unremovable?'], Gauri alleged that Advani asked Katiyar in a meeting just before leaving for the rath yatra.

In an application filed before the Liberhan Commission, Gauri said that she was present at the meeting when the two leaders allegedly discussed plans for the Babri demolition. Gauri requested she be made a witness before the commission to bring out the truth about the demolition. She called Mr LK Advani's statement before the Commission as ' nothing but a bundle of lies based upon concocted and false facts.'

In her 10-page application, the estranged daughter-in-law decried Advani’s statement before the commission that he was anguished by the Babri demolition and that he had nothing to do with it. At present a practising solicitor in London, Gauri, was Advani’s special assistant from November 1989 till her marriage to Jayant in October 1991. She is now seeking divorce from Advani’s son Jayant.

Gauri said in her application that as Advani’s special assistant she had looked after his New Delhi parliamentary constituency from where he contested and won election to Parliament. 'The applicant (Gauri) at that time had deep faith in the ideology which Mr LK Advani used to propagate and bonafidely believed whatever Advani used to tell her as gospel truth,' Gauri said in the application.

According to Gauri, on or around 28 November 1991, an application was moved in the Supreme Court seeking permission to carry out a symbolic kar seva [voluntary religious service] in Ayodhya. Anticipating favourable orders from the Supreme Court, Advani decided to start another rath yatra from Varanasi to mobilise kar sevaks [volunteers]. Gauri said she and Advani’s wife Kamala accompanied him to Lucknow on the morning of 30 November 1992, when all of them left for Varanasi.

‘‘Before the start of the rath yatra (on 1 December 1992), Mr Vinay Katiar came to meet Mr LK Advani. The applicant (Gauri) was also present at this meeting. It was in this meeting that Mr LK Advani and Mr Vinay Katiyar, in the presence of the applicant, conspired to demolish the Babri mosque. Mr LK Advani told Mr Vinay Katiyar that the ultimate aim of the Rath Yatra… is not only to do kar seva and appease Hindu sentiment but also to garner votes and come to power at the Centre,’’ Gauri said in her application, alleging that Advani told Katiyar that, ‘‘the movement to build the Ram Temple at Babri mosque had to be taken to its logical end, i.e., coming to power at the Centre, and that would not be possible without demolishing the Babri mosque as that will unite the Hindu vote bank in favour of the BJP.’’

Gauri goes on to say: ‘‘The applicant remembers that Mr LK Advani said, ‘Iska kaam kar do’ [finish this off] and again said, ‘Kya, Babri Masjid ka kalank nahin mit sakta?’ [is the blot of Babri Mosque unremovable?]. Mr Vinay Katiyar looked at the applicant and then said to Mr LK Advani that, ‘Hum to aapke aadesh ka intizaar kar rahen hain aur agar aap bole to masjid ka namo-nishaan mita de' [We are waiting for your permission and if you say we will erase every trace of the mosque]. Mr LK Advani at that time smiled and then said, ‘To intizaar kis baat ka? Kaam kar do, ghulaami ke nishaan kab tak rahenge. Masjid ko dhawasth karke dikhao – sahi samay aa gaya hai' [So what you are waiting for? Do the job. How long this symbol of slavery will remain. Destroy the mosque. Right time has come].

Gauri claimed she was not surprised at Advani’s ‘‘outpourings’’ as ‘‘even at home the family members used to say that the kar seva in Ayodhya would not remain restricted to bhajan [religious songs] or kirtan [religious music]'. It was the common refrain during discussions at home that the BJP can only come to power by playing the 'religion card,' she said. Gauri said that after the Babri demolition, Advani exulted on returning home: ‘‘Jo karne gaye the, woh kar aye' [We did what we had gone to do].

Gauri also said in her application that neither Advani nor his family practised the Hindu religion and that the home minister had given a false 'gotra' [clan] when asked for it before the commencement of the rath yatra. She said the family follows the Sikh religion.

Gauri Advani also disclosed that during and after the demolition of the Babri mosque, LK Advani got various silver gifts in the form of Hindu gods and goddesses, swords and bricks from Hindu individuals, associations and temples. Since LK Advani and his family members do not follow Hinduism, all these silver items/gifts were melted in Bombay (with the help of Sarla Advani, sister of Kamla Advani who lives in Bombay) to make silver utensils and cutlery items which are now used in the Advani household. LK Advani used to claim at home that he does not believe in Hindu gods and goddesses and keeping them at home serves no useful purpose. LK Advani therefore, decided to melt these gift items to use the silver to make utensils and cutlery items. 

The BJP has refused to comment on Gauri’s application and the claims made therein. Senior party leader JP Mathur said, ‘‘We have not seen it. When we read it, we will talk about it.' 

Full text of Gauri Advani’s statement q

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