IPS officer Anju Gupta appeared before Gulab Singh, Chief Judicial Magistrate in the special CBI court in Rae Bareli on Friday, as prosecution witness number 9 in the criminal case, State through CBI versus Lal Krishna Advani and others.

Eight others have testified in the case (no. 2252/06) so far, among them Inspector Hanuman Prasad, who verified the FIR filed on December 6, 1992; Rajendra Kumar Swamy, a CRPF commander (now retired); Ram Bahudur Mishra and Jitender Kumar Mishra, two sub-inspectors; and Avdesh Upadhyaya, a priest from Ayodhya.

The highest ranking officer to depose in the case so far, Ms. Gupta recalled that on December 5, 1992, the then Inspector-General of Faizabad Zone, A.K. Sharan, had convened a security review meeting where, based on intelligence inputs, he warned that an attempt might be made the next day to demolish the Babri Masjid.

Ms. Gupta testified that during and after the demolition, leaders present on the Ram Katha Kunj Manch repeatedly urged karsevaks not to leave the complex, as their presence was required to finish the task at hand.

Currently posted as DIG in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Ms. Gupta estimated the time of the fall of the first dome at around 2.15 p.m. The last and middle dome collapsed at around 4.30 p.m., she added.

Describing the mood at this point, Ms. Gupta said Uma Bharti and Sadhvi Ritambhara erupted in joy and hugged each other even as they hugged L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. They also distributed sweets.

As the domes fell, she said the bhajans and slogans grew louder and the speeches became more incendiary.

Acharya Dharmendra thundered that the falling domes represented the kalank (shame) of the Hindus, and Sadhvi Rithambara kept up a chant of “Ek dhakka aur do, Babri Masjid tod do” (Give one more push and break the Babri Masjid.)

Ms. Gupta said former Director-General of the Uttar Pradesh Police and VHP leader S.C. Mishra complimented the State police and the administration for supporting the demolition.

She recollected him telling the police that they had done nothing wrong in refusing to act against the karsevaks, adding that for this bravery, they would find their names inscribed in gold.

Ms. Gupta said she was in charge of Mr. Advani's security on December 5 and 6. She received him on the Barabanki-Faizabad border on the night of December 5.

At around 10.15 a.m. on December 6, Ms. Gupta took Mr. Advani to Vinay Katiyar's house. From there she escorted him and Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi to the Ram Janmabhoomi complex.

Ms. Gupta said the two leaders were mobbed by frenzied karsevaks who shouted “Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi zindabad.”

Mr. Advani and Mr. Joshi went around the complex and inspected the pooja site, and finally took their assigned seats at the Ram Katha Kunj Manch.

Ms. Gupta told the court that there were already thousands of people in the complex and the numbers swelled by the minute.

She said the Manch was situated at a distance of about 150 to 175 metres from the “disputed structure.” The domes of the Babri mosque were clearly visible from the Manch, which was occupied by about 80 to 100 people, she added.

As the demolition progressed, Ms. Gupta said, she could see fire and smoke billowing from the localities around the complex.

Ms. Bharti took the mike at this point and told the crowds that “Muslims have themselves set fire to their homes.”

She also announced that they had succeeded in forming a government in U.P with only Hindu support and that they would succeed in getting a similar government at the Centre.

Ms. Gupta said that after the demolition, Mr. Advani wanted her to put him through to U.P. Chief Minister Kalyan Singh. After she expressed her inability to do so, he held a closed door meeting with the DM and SSP of Faizabad in the Ram Katha Kunj office.

Ms. Gupta said curfew was imposed in Ayodhya at around 6 p.m. on December 6.

Stating that the administration's writ had weakened considerably in Ayodhya, she said the security arrangements in the complex were not in consonance with the threat perception for the area.

Mr. Gulab Singh fixed April 23 for the next hearing when Ms. Gupta would be cross examined by the defence.

Correction

The ninth paragraph of the above report was “Ms. Gupta said the former Director-General of the Uttar Pradesh Police and VHP leader, S.C. Mishra, complimented the State police and the administration on supporting the demolition.” It's S.C. Dixit.

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