The state capital was the worst affected in riots that gripped Madhya Pradesh in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya exactly 20 years ago. Over the week after December 6, 1992 more than 143 people were killed, houses, shops and vehicles set afire and Old Bhopal was literally
handed over to the Army.
Actually, December 6 did not look ominous from daybreak in Bhopal. The administration was able to control crowds and processions coming out at certain pockets of the city venting its anger against Kar Seva at Babri Masjid. As per reports which appeared in the media at that time, there was some tension at Ibrahimpura, Jehangirabad, but police controlled the situation. From Maulana Azad College of Technology (MACT) a procession moved on the roads but it was not allowed to proceed further from New Market.
The next day was, however, uncontrollable. Riots broke out in Madhya Pradesh. Curfew was clamped on Bhopal city and several other districts of the state. Army carried out a flag march, shoot-at-sight orders were issued, rioters torched vehicles and houses in the city. Curfew brought life to a standstill at Talaiya, Jehangirabad, Kotwali, Mangalwara, Hanumanganj, Nishatpura, Bajaria, Shahjehanabad and Govindpura. Police had to resort to firing and lobbing teargas shells at several places. Educational institutions were shut down.
Till December 9, more than 55 people had died in the state, of which 30 died in Bhopal. More columns of Army were called in. Violence was witnessed at Jumerati, Chandbad, Barkhedi, Pul Bogda, TT Nagar, MP Nagar, Kotara Sultanabad, Jawahar Chowk and several other areas. Train passengers also bore the brunt of riot. The civic administration cancelled all the gun licences in the city a preventive measures to check violence.
Meanwhile, the then governor Kunwar Mahmud Ali Khan had already recommended imposition of President's Rule. The then HRD minister and MP strongman Arjun Singh also demanded dismissal of the Sunderlal Patwa government (BJP).
Ironically, Patwa had then welcomed the Centre's move to dismiss the Uttar Pradesh government and had famously said: "Every youth of the state stands by Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao in this hour of crisis."
On December 15, his own government met the same fate along with two other BJP ruled states- Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
© Copyright © 2013 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.