Vidya Subrahmaniam and Atiq Khan
Anju Gupta says Advani made fiery speech that electrified kar sevaks
Rae Bareli: The demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 took place in the presence of a clutch of top Bharatiya Janata Party and Sangh Parivar leaders, none of whom, Lal Krishna Advani included, made an attempt to stop the vandals, said Anju Gupta, senior police officer and the prosecution's star witness in the Ayodhya demolition criminal case on Friday.
Ms. Gupta, who was Mr. Advani's personal security officer (PSO) at the time, told the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court in Rae Bareli that the BJP leader gave a “joshila” (fiery) speech from the dais, repeating over and over that “mandir yahin banayenge ( the temple will be built right here) and this electrified the kar sevaks.
Ms. Gupta said she was present on the dais for a substantial part of the six hours it took to raze the “disputed structure.” Through this time not once did she see Mr. Advani – or the other leaders present on the makeshift Ramkatha Kunj Manch – order the kar sevaks to halt the demolition. Instead, they made merry, hugged each other as each dome of the 16th century monument fell, and distributed sweets.
The leaders on the manch sang bhajans, made inflammatory speeches, raised provocative slogans and egged the kar sevaks into staying on to finish the work. “Vahan par jashan ka mahoul tha” (the mood was celebratory), she said.
Her requests to the police control room for “force reinforcement” were met with indifference, she said.
Ms. Gupta's testimony is significant for two reasons. Though there were more than a dozen senior government officials present in the town on that day, she alone has come forward to narrate the events leading up to the demolition. Secondly, as Mr. Advani's PSO, she had a vantage view of both the structure as it was being demolished and the dais where over a dozen BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders had gathered. Among them were Mr. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti, Ashok Singhal, Sadhvi Rithambhara, the former Director General of U.P. police, S.C. Dixit, and Acharya Dharmendra.
Ms. Gupta said she could only hear a part of Mr. Advani's speech as she had to leave the dais to escort the fleet of cars accompanying Mr. Advani.
On her way back to the dais, around 11.50 am-noon, she said she spotted kar sevaks, armed with a variety of implements, including pulleys and ropes, climbing atop the domes. Many of them fell to the ground. When she reached the stage, Mr. Advani asked her to describe the situation at the demolition site. On hearing that kar sevaks were falling off the domes, he was very worried, and insisted on going to the spot. However, later he relented and asked her to escort Ms. Bharti to the demolition site, she said.