Numerous people have made an immense contribution to the movement to ensure the construction of the Ram Mandir at Janmabhoomi. Following the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, Kalyan Singh resigned from his position the same evening taking moral responsibility for the events that transpired.
While addressing a public gathering, Kalyan Singh said, “I take responsibility for everything that happened. If you want to file a case in Court, then file it against me. If you want to set up an inquiry commission, then make me appear before the commission. If you want to punish someone, then, punish me.”
“Would I have shot the Karsevaks? I had made it clear in the NIC meeting that shots would not be fired at the Karsevaks (under any circumstance). When I received a call from the Home Ministry around 1 pm on December 6, I was told that several Karsevaks had climbed atop the dome. I told him that as per my information, the Karsevaks not only reached for the dome but has also started breaking it. I told him to record my statement that no permission to shoot Karsevaks will be given.”
Kalyan Singh explains the rationale behind his statement
In an interview with NDTV in 2009, Kalyan Singh said, “Lakhs of Kar Sevaks were present but no bullets will be fired. This was my order.” He explained that doing otherwise would have led to the death of 1000s of people. He emphasised, “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.” On being accused of dividing crores of people by trying to save 1000 lives, Singh proudly said that he did not commit the sin of killing Kar Sevaks.
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 aptly replied that he had no regret, repentance, sorrow, or grief about the events of the red-lettered day. “Many people say that the events of the 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,” he was quoted as saying.
The political significance of the decision
The decision of Kalyan Singh to not allow police to fire at the Kar Sevaks holds significance, in light of the political event that led to the killing of 16 Kar Sevaks 30 years ago on the orders of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. The incident which occurred in Ayodhya, all those years ago, left an ineradicable mark in the history of India.
On November 2, 1990, a large group of Karsevaks, including the Kothari brothers, started to gather in front of Hunumangarhi, a stone’s throw away from Babri Masjid that was eventually demolished couple of years later. They started moving ahead but were stopped by police. All of them sat on the road in protest and started singing ‘bhajans’ (religious songs) when suddenly, the security personnel at the behest of then CM Mulayam Singh, started firing at the crowd and chased Karsevaks across the area.
Many people died from head wounds. There was a stampede at the Saryu Bridge, which killed a number of people. According to eye-witnesses, the Kothari brothers mounted a saffron flag atop the Babri Masjid, however, fell prey to the brutality meted out on the Karsevaks. “We had to fire. When I tried to justify my action, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members called me the murderer of humanity. If we had not fired at them, imagine what the Muslim population would have thought. Then how would I justify my position as a chief minister,” Mulayam Singh was quoted as saying.
Kalyan Singh has earned immense respect for his conduct during the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement. At no point in time has he expressed any regret over what happened on that fateful day. He did not open fire at the Kar Sevaks and yet sacrificed his position as the Chief Minister for it. For that, he remains one of the icons of the Hindutva Movement.