Sister of the slain Kothari brothers, Ram and Sharad—who had set off for Ayodhya almost 30 years ago to participate in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement—with a promise that they would return just before her wedding, will finally have some sense of closure as the temple town primes itself for the much-awaited Bhoomi Pujan ceremony, an event that marks the construction of Ram Mandir for which her brothers laid down their lives.
While no duration of time is enough for a grieving sister to come to terms with her brothers’ demise, the fact that her brothers’ dream of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya turning into a reality may provide some amount of satisfaction to Purnima Kothari, the sister of Kothari brothers, who were killed in police firing on November 2, 1990, and their bodies were found in a narrow lane near Hanumangarhi in Ayodhya.
The Kothari family is one among those distinguished guests who have been invited for the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony in Ayodhya. Talking to IANS, Purnima said that it gives her an immense sense of relief that the moment has finally arrived for which her brothers paid with their lives. “I feel proud that they sacrificed their lives for something whose culmination is taking place. However, I wish they were here with me today,” Purnima said.
She also added that if given a chance to meet PM Modi, she would request him to construct a museum where the struggle of 500 years can be documented.
On October 22, 1990, Ram and Sharad, both in their early twenties, decided to participate in ‘kar seva’ to reclaim the abode of Lord Ram in Ayodhya. Purnima was about to get married on December 16.
The duo reached Varanasi by train and from there walked all the way to Ayodhya. “The atmosphere in Ayodhya was charged up and I am told they were the first ones to mount a saffron flag atop the Babri structure,” she added.
Ram and Sharad Kothari were killed in police firing ordered by former UP CM Mulayam Singh Yadav
The incident which occurred in Ayodhya 29 years back, left an ineradicable mark in the history of India. The incidents in the last days of October and the 1st four days of November 1990 had left the then UP CM Mulayam Singh completely off balance who left no stone unturned to unleash utmost atrocities on Kar Sevaks who assembled in Ayodhya.
On November 2, 1990, a large group of kar sevaks, including the Kothari brothers, started to gather in front of Hanumangarhi, a stone’s throw away from the disputed structure. 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 kar sevaks across the area. Many people died from head wounds. There was a stampede at the Saryu Bridge, which killed a number of people. This singular inhuman act ordered by former UP CM and erstwhile Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav earned him a sobriquet–”Mullah Mulayam”.
However, the auspicious day of August 5 is more than realising the dream of a Ram Temple for Purnima Kothari. It brings closure for the psychological upheaval that she had endured for the last three decades, from her Bengal residence, often weeping over her brothers’ pictures.
“I received a letter through post after their death, in which they promised to come back home in time to attend her marriage,” Purnima recalled. Purnima and her niece have also reportedly collected soil from the birthplace of her brothers, to lay at the temple site.