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Sacrifice of Satyavan Singh: Police, on orders of Mulayam Singh Govt, encircled his village and opened fire after villagers extended help to Karsevaks

Satyavan Singh, around 35 years old, was among the many villagers protesting against police brutality. Meanwhile, the police shot Satyavan Singh in the chest without any warning.

The rituals for the Pre-Pran Pratishtha ceremony at Ram Mandir commenced on 16th January, and will continue until the auspicious ceremony is performed on 22nd January 2024. The Rammay atmosphere (presence of Shri Ram and devotion to him in everything) has materialised because of unparalleled sacrifice from unsung karsevaks and Ram Bhakts.  

In our ground report, the OpIndia team reached out to connect with several anonymous Ram Bhakts or their family members. This aimed to unravel the strenuous but devotional journey that made it possible for Shri Ram to be housed in his Janmabhoomi, highlighting their sacrifices alongside their present-day living conditions.

In an earlier article in this continuing series, OpIndia had reported that the first massacre of Ram Bhakts and karsevaks took place on 22nd October 1990 under the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh. Back then, the police on the orders from the Mulayam Singh government raided Sandpur village in the Basti district on the information that Karsevaks had gathered in the village. 

Following the police raid, villagers, particularly Ram Bhakts and Karsevaks, were subjected to police excesses as the Police opened indiscriminate firing on villagers who protested against Police actions. As a result of indiscriminate firing, 3 Ram devotees lost their lives and many others were injured.

In the previous report, we highlighted the sacrifices of 16-year-old Ram Chander Yadav —who was fatally shot and was the first Karsevak martyr in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement – and his family. 

Satyavan Singh was another karsevak who became the victim of Police excesses during the massacre of Ram Bhakts on 22nd October 1990.  

OpIndia went to Satyavan Singh’s house to gather information where we learned about the ordeal of the family. Satyavan Singh belonged to a middle-class family. The family’s livelihood is sustained through farming. We met Satyavan Singh’s brother Satyaprakash Singh in Sandpur village.

The administration was enraged that Ram Bhakts had gathered in the village

Satyaprakash Singh revealed that he was an eyewitness to the massacre that occurred on 22nd October 1990. He mentioned that at that time, several karsevaks had come from outside to stay in Sandpur village, and the villagers had made arrangements for their accommodation and meals. During that period, all routes to and from Ayodhya were blocked. However, Sandpur was considered a suitable place for such arrangements.

According to his account, due to the presence of a river near Sandpur village, karsevaks were entering Ayodhya through this river using boats. The boats were provided by the villagers. Meanwhile, someone informed Ram Chander Rai, the in-charge of the Dubauliya police station, about this. As soon as the information was received, the police, along with the PAC and paramilitary forces, surrounded the entire village.

They were beating the elderly to extract information about the kar sevaks

Satyaprakash Singh narrated that security forces attacked their village Sandpur around 5 in the morning. However, the villagers had already received information about the police raid, so all the karsevaks were sent on their journey the previous night. When the security forces entered the village to search for the karsevaks, they couldn’t find a single one.

Unable to find the karsevaks in the village, the police forcibly entered homes and started beating the elderly people asking about the whereabouts of the karsevaks. The police team included in-charge from the Dubaulia police station Ram Chander Rai, Cantonment police station, Captainganj police station, and Haraiya police station, among others. The then Basti Superintendent of Police IPS Subhash Gupta was giving instructions to all of them.

When the villagers protested, the police opened fire

Satyaprakash Singh further stated that after beating the elderly, male police officers started to harass the women of Sandpur village. There was no female staff in the raiding team. At that time, most people in the village were asleep. Upon hearing the commotion, not only the residents of Sandpur but also people from surrounding villages gathered.

The villagers were outraged when they learned that the only fault of the people being harassed by the police was their devotion to Ram. At that point, the police, without any warning, started firing bullets at the villagers. According to Satyaprakash Singh, instead of firing bullets into the air, the police took direct aim at the chests and heads of the villagers. Women and children were not spared during this period.

Satyavan Singh, around 35 years old, was among the many villagers protesting against police brutality. Meanwhile, the police shot Satyavan Singh in the chest without any warning. As soon as the bullet hit him, Satyawan Singh fell to the ground. When Satya Prakash Singh ran to save his brother, he too became a target and was shot. However, the bullet grazed his ears without causing serious injury.

The body was not handed over to the family, brother was also sent to jail

According to Satyaprakash Singh, the bodies of his brother Satyawan Singh, and Ram Chander Yadav were lying nearby. The police took away both bodies without informing the family. These bodies were subjected to postmortem at the Basti District Hospital without informing the relatives and were cremated at the Amhat cremation ground in the city without notifying the family.

According to him, even after this firing incident, the police continued to raid the village. Fearing police excesses, most of the villagers fled their homes. Only women, children, and elderly people were left in the houses. Even among the elderly, only those people were left at home who were unable to walk due to illness or other reasons.

In this situation, police teams would enter homes, overturn the cots of the elderly, and behave indecently with women. Eventually, all the people of the village were arrested one by one. They were tortured severely and then sent to jail. Most villagers were granted bail by the High Court. Despite being granted bail, many people did not return home for several days due to fear of the police.

Performed funeral rites of his brother after returning from jail

Satyavan Singh’s brother Satyaprakash Singh was also among the victims who were jailed. Speaking with the OpIndia team, Satyaprakash Singh stated that they reached out to several political leaders to complain about police atrocities and that they are innocent, yet nobody heard their grievances. It took several days for Satyaprakash Singh to be released from jail. After coming out from jail, he performed the final rites of his brother after a considerable delay.

In the Basti District Court, Satyaprakash Singh is still fighting the case which was filed against him in 1990. Along with him, other villagers who were victims at that time are still going through legal proceedings. Satyaprakash Singh still regrets that no action has been taken against the police officers involved in the massacre in his village to this day.

Satyaprakash Singh considers Mulayam Singh Yadav guilty of the firing in his village and of the people killed in it. He said that Mulayam had done this only to please Muslims. Nonetheless, Satyaprakash Singh is extremely happy with the construction of Ram Mandir and considers that his brother’s sacrifice proved to be meaningful. He hopes that in the under-construction temple, the memories of all the martyrs, including his brothers, should be preserved.

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राहुल पाण्डेय
राहुल पाण्डेय
धर्म और राष्ट्र की रक्षा को जीवन की प्राथमिकता मानते हुए पत्रकारिता के पथ पर अग्रसर एक प्रशिक्षु। सैनिक व किसान परिवार से संबंधित।

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