While a large number of people made an invaluable contribution towards the Ram Janmabhoomi movement that led to the demolition of the controversial structure in Ayodhya, one of the most monumental roles was played by none other than former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had motivated thousands of Hindus to become aware of their civilisational heritage and claim their rights.
On December 5, 1992, as the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was reaching a crescendo, Atal Bihari Vajpayee made a fiery speech while addressing a gathering of Karsevaks at Jhandewalan Park in Aminabad, Lucknow. During the speech, Vajpayee emphasised the importance of carrying out Karseva in Ayodhya, asserting that providing Karseva did not violate the Supreme Court’s judgment. This was a time when the ‘secular liberal’ forces were predicting doom and trying to mobilise government forces to stop the mega rally at Ayodhya scheduled on December 6.
Ground needs to be levelled, some arrangements have to be made
Referring to the site of Ram Janmabhoomi, where the VHP and BJP proposed to build a Ram temple, Vajpayee said, “Sharp-edged boulders are present at the site. Nobody can sit there. The ground needs to be levelled. It has to be made fit for sitting. Some construction work can take place there as arrangements for a Yagnya has to be done.”
The Supreme Court had then stated that no construction can take place at the site. But Vajpayee’s speech had asserted that the SC had banned construction, it has not stopped Hindus from doing Bhajan and organising Keertans in Ayodhya. He also stated that Keertans need gathering and some arrangements are needed to be made for Hindus from all over the country who are gathering at Ayodhya during winter.
On the next day, that is December 6, 1992, though Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not present at the gathering in Ayodhya, a large contingent of Karsevaks had stormed the Ram Janmabhoomi premises in Ayodhya and razed the disputed structure. A legion of Hindu activists and VHP supporters scaled the domes of the controversial structure wielding hammers, stones, rods and other tools and had brought the structure down within hours.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s clarification on his speech
Years later, the former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee issued a clarification of his speech made a day before the demolition of the disputed structure. Speaking to Outlook magazine, Vajpayee said that his speech was made in a lighter vein and with a certain context. “Mera Ayodhya andolan mein zyaada role nahin tha (I did not have much of a role in the Ayodhya movement),” he said, adding that he had not mentioned the masjid once and there was nothing in the speech that could be questioned by the courts.