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Author: P V Narasimha Rao
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Zaffar Adeem
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143101285
I cannot count how many people, both friends and opponents, have hurled at me the question, Why did you not impose President’s Rule in Uttar Pradesh in order to save the Babri Masjid from vandalism on 6 December 1992? Indeed, this question must be examined.
P V Narasimha Rao was the prime minister of India when, in December 1992, kar sevaks, flouting a Supreme Court order, streamed into Ayodhya in thousands. On 6 December, to the horror of the entire nation, they attacked the Babri Masjid and began to demolish the structure. The communal riots that followed ripped apart the secular fabric of the nation. Even today, the Ramjanmabhoomi–Babri Masjid dispute has not been resolved, and Ayodhya remains a hotbed of political intrigue and communal tension.
Could nothing have been done to prevent what happened at Ayodhya on 6 December 1992? Why did the Union government take no action when the kar sevaks were flouting a Supreme Court order? Why were paramilitary forces not deployed to protect the Babri Masjid when it was under imminent threat? Why did the state government of Uttar Pradesh not intervene in any way, and why did senior BJP leaders watch helplessly even as the mosque was being torn down? And why did it take so long for President’s Rule to be imposed on the state?
Ayodhya: 6 December 1992 records Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao’s view of what really happened at Ayodhya, and why. Comparing the 6 December 1992 incident with the unsuccessful attack on the Babri Masjid by kar sevaks in 1990 (when Mulayam Singh Yadav was chief minister of UP and a Janata Dal government ruled at the Centre), Rao discloses in no uncertain terms how the issue of building a Ram mandir at Ayodhya was politicized for electoral benefit. Discussing Article 356 of the Constitution at length, he explains why it was inadvisable to place UP under President’s Rule. Drawing on the Supreme Court order, parliamentary proceedings, eyewitness reports and his own political insights, he presents a comprehensive account of the machinations that led to the attack on the Babri Masjid, and indicates who might have gained from it, and how.
Written in the mid-’90s, after Rao stepped down as prime minister, and published posthumously according to the author’s wishes, this book is the key to understanding one of the most important political moments of modern history, and to recognizing the dangers of exploiting religious sentiments for narrow electoral benefits.
The purpose of this factual account is to unravel the ruth about the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid, which has determined the politics of a major part of northen India sicne the mid-1980s, although the matter itself is much older. It is essentially a religious matter tht has been blatantly exploited for political, more precisely electoral,purposes. Religious emotion hs been made to sway the electrorate in the Lok Sabha electins of 1989 and 1991, and Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat etc.
This true account may perhasps be too late in the day to be of any political value-the purpose of the disinformation having been achieved already in some elections. Yet if it is possible to re-separate religious and electoral politics even after two or three mishaps, it will be of great service to the seulcar polity of India and an eye-opener to the people.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
P V NARASIMHA RAO, Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao was born in Hyderabad in June 1921. After playing an active part in the Independence movement, he served as a Congress minister in Andhra Pradesh, and became chief minister of the state in 1971. In 1973, he was elected to the Lok Sabha, and went on to hold several cabinet posts under Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, including those of foreign minister and home minister.
After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991, Rao was chosen to lead the Congress party, and became prime minister of India. Leading a minority government, Rao was the first prime minister from outside the Gandhi-Nehru family to serve out a full five-year term. His premiership is remembered for the liberalization of the Indian economy and the move towards free-market reforms. Rao resigned as Congress president after the party lost the 1996 general elections. He died in December 2004.
CHRONOLOGY OF MAJOR EVENTS
RELATED TO AYODHYA
MAP OF RAMJANMABHOOMI-BABRI MASJID
Ayodhya 1949: Idols Move into the Mosque
Ayodhya 1986: The Opening of The Locks
Ayodhya 1989: The Shilanyas
Ayodhya 1990: the Crisis Averted
Ayodhya 1992: The Building Blocks of Dispute
Ayodhya: 6 December 1992
Why was article 356 Note Invoked?
Ayodhya: What Happened and Why
Major communal riots relating to Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue during 1989 and 1990
Resolution adopted by the National Integration Council at its meeting held on 2 November 1991 at New Delhi
Extract from the report of delegation of the members of the National Integration Council and Members of Parliament to Ayodhya, 27 April 1992
Prime Minister’s statement in Lok Sabha on 27 July 1992
Prime Minister’s letter to leaders of political parties dated 27 September 1992
Prime Minister’s intervention in the meeting of the National Integration Council on 23 November 1992.
Extracts from important affidavits of the Government of Uttar Pradesh, 1991-92
Statements of important leaders of BJP/VHP during the build-up to the kar seva, November-December 1992
Important communications/letters written by Home Minister/senior officers of he Central Government to the State government of Uttar Pradesh from time to time in regard to Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue
Letters from Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh to the Central Government, November 1992
Letters from the Union Home Minister to the Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh, 1-5 December 1992
Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament on 7 December 1992 in relation to the situation at Ayodhya
Prime Minister’s intervention in the Lok Sabha on 21 December 1992
The Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Ordinance, 1993, dated 7 January 1993
Reference to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution, dated 7 January 1993
Supreme Court Judgment, dated 24 December 1994