Karnataka school run by RSS leader makes kids ‘demolish’ Babri Masjid in a play

At least a hundred children are on stage – many of them in white shirts and white pants, and others in white shirts and saffron dhotis. They rush towards a huge poster of the Babri Masjid, as a narrator says on a loudspeaker: “They start demolishing the structure with anything they can get their hands on. With enthusiasm, Hanuman bhaktas with Hanuman’s anger, they bring down Babri structure. Bolo Shri Ramachandra ki, Jai!” As the proclamation of Ram’s name comes on the loudspeaker, the poster of Babri Masjid has been brought down by the students, and the children on stage are cheering and jumping in excitement. 

This video is from Sunday, when a group of Class 11 and 12 students from Karnataka’s Sri Rama Vidyakendra High School located in Dakshina Kannada district’s Kalladka, were made to enact the demolition of the Babri Masjid. After the act described above, they put up a ‘Ram temple’ in its place, and throughout the “play”, there are chants hailing Ram, Sita, and Hanuman.

The school is owned by RSS leader and the organisation's south-central region executive committee member, Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat. Prabhakar Bhat is a powerful RSS leader in the coastal belt of Karnataka.

Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, RSS leader and the organisation's south-central region executive committee member

The Chief Guests for the event were Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, DV Sadananda Gowda; Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi; and several Ministers from Karnataka including H Nagesh and Sashikala Jolle were present at the School Day function at Sri Rama Vidyakendra, where the play was staged.

When asked why a school owned by him would enact a communally-charged play, which goes against the Supreme Court’s observations on Babri Masjid demolition, Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat told TNM that he does not agree with the Supreme Court. “Even though the Supreme Court has said that what happened in Babri was wrong, we have questioned that part of the judgment itself. We cannot accept everything that is said in the judgment. I don't agree with it,” Kalladka Bhat said.

Kalladka Bhat even said that he felt nothing was wrong in showcasing a play on what he believes is a historical event. “It is not a mosque. It is just a building. It is a historical event that we are depicting. We have depicted Jallianwala Bagh as well. Did anyone highlight that? There are hundreds of instances like this and we have to show the injustices that have happened in our country,” Kalladka Bhat said. 

Kalladka Bhat maintained that he did not see anything wrong in showcasing such a play. “Who are Babur's children? We are not against Muslims. We are against terrorists. The play was done to show historical events and what is the problem with it? Our temple was destroyed and then the structure was built. We have said Babri structure. It was not a masjid,” Kalladka Bhat added.  

When asked if he condoned the act of putting up a communally sensitive play, Union Minister Sadananda Gowda said that he was not present at the school when the play was enacted. “I don’t know. I was not there when the play was enacted. I arrived at the school only at 7.30 pm and I think it was over by then. I have to know more about this before commenting,” he said. 

Other than the Babri Masjid demolition enactment, students also made huge formations in the shape of a lotus, star, om and the Ram temple that is envisaged to come up at Ayodhya.

A picture shared by Kiran Bedi shows her waving at the students who had made the temple formation.

Satish Bhat Shivagiri, the President of the school claimed that there was nothing communal about the play and they were simply depicting ‘developments’.