Proud of denying permission to fire on kar sewaks in Ayodhya, says former Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh on Thursday said he is proud of his decision to deny permission in writing to a query on whether police should open firing on kar sewaks (literally, religious volunteers) in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
The kar sewaks had gathered to protest at the Ram Janmabhoomi -Babri Masjid site (the mosque is believed to have been built where there once stood a temple to Lord Ram, at the place of birth). The Supreme Court ruled on the decades-old dispute last year and ordered the construction of a temple at the site.
The protest on December 6, 1992 went out of hand and the mosque was demolished. Singh’s government was dismissed immediately afterwards and the state was placed under President’s rule.
Singh, now 88, said in an interview that, in a sense, it was the demolition that paved the way for the Ram temple bhumi pujan (ground breaking ceremony) scheduled for August 5.
“I wish to die after watching the temple come up in Ayodhya and then wish to be reborn in the temple town,” he said in a freewheeling chat during which he vividly recalled the happenings 28 years ago,
Singh, who has also served as governor of Rajasthan, added that the Ram temple would lead to more tourism and the new Ayodhya that would come up would also ensure development. Singh is expected to reach Ayodhya a day before the bhumi pujan.
Edited Excerpts from the interview:
You were the chief minister when the Babri mosque was demolished 28 years back and your government was dismissed. Today, as you prepare to visit Ayodhya for the bhumi pujan, how do you look back on those developments and all that has happened since?
I would call it divine providence. In 1528, Mughal ruler Babar’s general Mir Baqi demolished the Ram temple at Ayodhya not because he wanted to build another place of worship, but because he wanted to insult Hindus. Maybe it was destined that the dhaancha (structure) would be demolished with me as chief minister. Had there been no demolition, probably the courts too would have ordered status quo. So, in a sense, it was the demolition that actually has paved the way for the August 5 bhumi pujan and naturally, I am elated.
Questions have been raised whether as chief minister, you discharged your duty, and did enough to protect the mosque?
I will tell you something. That day (December 6) amid the build-up, I got a call from the district magistrate of Ayodhya saying that nearly 3.5 lakh kar sewaks had assembled . I was told that central forces were on way to the temple town but their movement was halted by kar sewaks outside Saket college. I was asked whether to order firing (on kar sewaks) or not. I denied permission in writing and said in my order, which is still there on the files, that firing would lead to the loss of many lives, chaos and law and order issues across the country.
And now, in hindsight, you feel you did the right thing?
Yes, I am proud of my decision as today I can proudly say that I might have lost my government but saved kar sewaks. Now, in hindsight, I feel that subsequent demolition eventually paved the way for the temple.
Was your decision, to not order firing on kar sewaks, shaped in anyway by the firing ordered on kar sewaks by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in 1990?
It (firing on kar sewaks) was wrong then (1990). Killing people is no joke.
You are among the select invitees for the bhumi pujan. But, so far, majority of the top opposition leaders like Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati and others haven’t been invited. Are opposition leaders going to be invited for bhumi pujan?
That is for the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust to decide but all that I would say is that though Ram belongs to all, most of the names you mentioned have opposed the Ram temple.
The Ram temple is going to be real now, but you have also been speaking of ensuring employment. How do you think that will happen?
Ram will ensure roti too. The temple will make Ayodhya a globally famous tourist place. A new Ayodhya is going to come up that would co-exist with the ancient one. All this would usher in jobs and prosperity.
You say the Ram temple is like a dream realised. Any other wish?
Yes, to live till the time the Ram temple comes up and then to be born again, possibly in Ayodhya.