A sting operation by Cobrapost reveals that the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, was elaborately planned and executed with precision of a military operation and was not an act of frenzied mobs.
In a major investigation, codenamed Operation Janmabhoomi, Cobrapost Associate Editor K. Ashish interviewed 23 of the leaders at the forefront of Ram Janmabhoomi movement who were involved in the demolition of Babri Masjid. Of the 23 leaders, the Liberhan Commission has indicted 15, the CBI has made 19 accused in its chargesheet, while leaving out B. L. Sharma, Mahant Avaidyanath, Nritya Gopal Das and Ram Vilas Vedanti.
Some of the findings of the Cobrapost investigation are:
- The conspiracy was hatched at the level of two Hindu outfits, VHP and Shiv Sena, but not jointly.
- Both these outfits had trained their cader as part of an action plan, many months before it was implemented on December 6.
- A Balidani Jatha, or suicide squad, was formed with the trained RSS workers.
- Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of VHP, had its training in Surkhej of Gujarat, while Shiv Sena trained its cader in Bhind–Morena.
- The training regime included imparting skills such as climbing taller structures with help of grappling hooks and ropes and digging earth with implements like pickaxes and spades, apart from regular drills and physical exercises.
- Traditional implements such as chisels, heavy-duty hammers, pickaxes, spades, sabbals, and other tools were procured in large numbers and put to use on December 6, to pull the disputed structure down.
- A Sankalp, or an oath, was administered to the lakhs of karsevaks in the presence of all the frontline leaders of the movement like L. K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore and Acharya Dharmendra, apart from the entire galaxy of Hindu sants. The Sankalp conducted from the Ram Katha Manch gave a call for the construction of a grand Ram Temple at the disputed site after removing the structure. The assault on Babri was begun as soon as the Sankalp was conducted by Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti.
- VHP cobbled together a band of 1200 RSS workers secreted from their respective zones a few days before the demolition. This secret formation was given the name of Laxman Sena and Ramji Gupta was given charge of this army which was formed to dismantle the Babri. It’s clarion call was “Jai Sheshavtaar”.
- Shiv Sena, on the other hand, had a similar band of local workers at Ayodhya, called Pratap Sena, which provided all the logistics for the action plan.
- The RSS–VHP–Bajrang Dal combine held a secret meeting at Hindu Dham at Ayodhya a day before the demolition. Attended by Ashok Singhal, Vinay Katiyar, V. H. Dalmia, Moropant Pingle and Mahant Avaidyanath, it was decided in the meeting that the Babri masjid will be razed down.
- The RSS and BJP had held a secret meeting at Hanuman Bagh which was attended by H. V. Sheshadri from the RSS and all senior leaders of BJP present at Ayodhya, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti and L. K. Advani.
- Shiv Sena had its secret parleys at North Avenue in Delhi in November 1992, which was attended by senior leaders such as Jai Bhagwan Goel, Moreshwar Save, Satish Pradhan, Anand Dhige and others in which a strategy was chalked out before making a move to Ayodhya. Both Balasaheb Thackeray and Raj Thackeray kept a close tab on all these activities.
- Shiv Sena had planned to use dynamite to bring down Babri if traditional methods failed.
- Apart from traditional tools, the Bihar team used petrol bombs to dismantle the structure.
- The local administration goaded and helped the frenzied mobs of karsevaks in removing the “headache” the Babri had become for them.
Apart from these conspirators, there are two more persons responsible for Babri demolition as both were keeping a close watch on the developments but did nothing. Kalyan Singh, then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, had a foreknowledge of what was going to happen. Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti quite categorically claims to have conveyed it to the Chief Minister on the night before December 6: “Paanch December ki raat ko hi Kalyan Singh ke paas samachar bhej diya gaya tha aur usmein ye kaha gaya tha ki yadi awashayakta padti hai toh dhancha bhi tod diya jayega aapko kya bhoomika nirwah karni hai vichar kar lijye (On the night of December 5 itself Kalyan Singh was informed of it and he was told that if need be the structure would be felled. Now, you decide what you have to do).” Not only that, Sakshi Maharaj also claims to have been giving Kalyan Singh a minute-by-minute account of the development.
The other person who has been accused of having a hand in Babri demolition is former Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao. Cobrapost investigation finds these allegations true as some leaders at the forefront of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement like Vinay Katiyar, B. L. Sharma, Santosh Dubey, Sakshi Maharaj and Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti openly acknowledge Rao’s supportive role.
The Cobrapost investigation also reestablishes the fact that the dispute arose after the statue of Ram Lala were fraudulently instated within the mosque in 1949. One of the witnesses who saw it happen is B. L. Sharma Prem. It all happened before his eyes, Sharma claims, when he was posted in Ayodhya with Military Police as a Warrant Officer.