After centuries of struggle, a Bhavya Ram Mandir at Ayodhya will soon be constructed at Ram Janmabhoomi. In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court of India handed over the sacred site to Hindus while Muslims were allotted five acres of land as an alternative. Over the years, there have been numerous people who have made an immense contribution to the movement to ensure the construction of the Temple at the sacred site. One of the key figures of the Ram Janambhoomi Movement under whose watch the Babri Masjid was demolished was then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh.
As Chief Minister of the state, it was his responsibility to maintain the law and order around the disputed structure.
In the aftermath of the demolition, Kalyan Singh resigned from his position the same evening taking moral responsibility for the events that transpired. Earlier, he had submitted an affidavit in the Court that he will not permit any damage to the mosque.
In the CBI chargesheet that was filed following the investigation, charges of criminal conspiracy were filed against him and other top leaders of the BJP. The chargesheet alleges that Kalyan Singh at his swearing-in-ceremony as Chief Minister, along with veteran Murli Manohar Joshi and others, visited Ayodhya where they allegedly swore a sacred vow to construct the Temple. Singh is alleged to have said that “in his tenure as Chief Minister, UP, a temple of Shri Ram will inevitably be constructed.” In addition to that, it is claimed that a few days prior to the incident, he said, “Rok construction per lagi hai, destruction par nahi (‘the stay is on construction, not on destruction’).”
The CBI also alleged that consistent with the conspiracy to demolish the disputed structure, the state government acquired 2.77 acres of land in October 1991 “under the pretext of developing the same for tourism purposes.” It further states, “it is further evident from the investigation that Kalyan Singh in order to achieve the objectives of the criminal conspiracy as aforesaid not only failed to live up to its promises to protect the disputed structure but continued to aid and abet the criminal conspiracy to ensure its destruction.”
According to the CBI, Kalyan Singh said in a public address at Lucknow in 1993, “Vivadith dhanche ki suraksha na kar pane ka unhe koye afsos nahi hai, kyonki ve 464 saal purana gulami ka chinh tha (They don’t regret not being able to protect the controversial structure because it was a 464-year-old symbol of slavery).”
Kalyan Singh, throughout the course of his political career. has refused to express any regret for what happened in 1992. In an interview to NDTV in 2009, Singh again reiterated his stance and declared when pressed on the issue, “No regret. No repentance. No sorrow. No grief.”
During the interview, Kalyan Singh said, “I had made all the necessary security arrangements. I instructed the authorities to take all measures necessary to protect the structure but there was one thing more that I said. Lakhs of Kar Sevaks were present but no bullets will be fired. This was my order.” He continued, “And it is not of the fault of any authority, they followed my orders. If I had allowed it to happen, thousands of people would have died, from bullets and stampede, and the structure still wouldn’t have survived.
The journalist was as obtuse and as insensitive towards Hindus that only an NDTV journalist could be. He said, “You decided to divide crores of people to save the lives of a hundred.” In an astonishing advertisement of unveiled bigotry, the interviewer said, “A thousand Kar Sevaks would have died if you had fired bullets as per your own estimation. To save yourself from that sin, you committed the sin of dividing crores of people.”
Kalyan Singh, during the interview, proudly said that he did not commit the sin of murdering Kar Sevaks. He also said, “Many people say that the events of 6th of December, 1992 are a matter of national shame. I say that the 6th of December, 1992 is not a matter of national shame but of national pride.”
The former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh also said that what happened on that fateful day was only a culmination of events that started long ago. Kalyan Singh said that indications that the structure was about to go down started when Murthis were placed inside the Masjid during the Congress regime. The incident he was referring to occurred in 1949 when Murthis ‘magically appeared’ inside the Babri. The chief architect of that endeavour is said to be Mahant Digvijay Nath of the Gorakhnath Muth, the same Muth whose current Mahant is the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath.
Kalyan Singh continued, “Then, the locks were opened for Ram Lalla’s worship, not Khuda ki Ibadat, whose government was it in the Centre and State? Congress. After that, the Shilanyas happened there, Shilanyas did not happen for a Masjid, Shilanyas happened for the Temple, under whose rule did that happen? Congress.”
The Liberhan Commission, which was constituted by Indian government ten days after the incident, to investigate the destruction of the disputed structure claimed that Kalyan Singh maintained a “studied silence” even at the height of the crisis in December 1992 and “refused to allow even a single measure which might impede the Ayodhya campaign or prevent the assault on the disputed structures, the journalists or the innocent people”.
About the actions of the state government, it said, “The very fact that the Chief Minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh, its ministers and its mandarins supported the destruction with tacit, open, active and material support at every step, but did not make it part of the officially stated agenda lends overwhelming credence to the fact that they were aware of the gross illegality and impropriety they were guilty of. It would be reasonable to conclude that they were conscious of their acts and conduct ensuring the achievement of their concealed intent to demolish the disputed structure.”
It continues, “Kalyan Singh, his ministers and his handpicked bureaucrats created man-made and cataclysmic circumstances which could result in no consequences other than the demolition of the disputed structure and broadened the cleavage between the two religious communities resulting in massacres all over the country. They denuded the state of every legal, moral and statutory restraint and willfully enabled and facilitated the wanton destruction and ensuing anarchy.”
The report further stated, “Chief Minister Kalyan Singh stood on guard against the possibility of any pre-emptive or preventive action by the Central Government or the Supreme Court of India or the other courts or any other institution. He and his trusted lieutenants spared no lies before the highest authorities of the land to befool them and to tie their hands with the niceties of our constitutional democracy.”
For his part, Kalyan Singh rubbished the contents of the Liberhan Commission report in the aforementioned NDTV interview. It is also pertinent to mention that the report was submitted seventeen years after the incident after being given 48 extensions on the 30th of June, 2009 when the Home Minister was P. Chidambaram, who is now imprisoned for his alleged involvement in high-profile scams.
Kalyan Singh has earned immense respect for his conduct during the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement. At no point of time has he expressed any regret over what happened on that fateful day. He did not open fire at the Kar Sevaks and he sacrificed his position as the Chief Minister for it. For that, he remains one of the icons of the Hindutva Movement.