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What happened to the car service of the 1990s?

Hemant Sharma
On the morning of October 30, 1990, Ayodhya was in the grip of fear and uncertainty. Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had announced that even a bird cannot be killed there. A curfew was imposed in Ayodhya for four days. There was no restriction on visits to Ram Janmabhoomi, but no one was allowed to go there. Car servants were ready to do anything. There were two types of people in the crowd, one was those who had come from thousands of kilometers for the car service. The other who came every year on Kartik Purnima for the fourteenth kosi parikarma of Ayodhya, but they too were eager for karseva. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad had issued identity cards and maps of minor roads and trails to all kar sevaks.

Saha Sarkaria Rajendra Singh alias Rajju Bhaiya of RSS has been arrested in Lucknow. VHP president Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Mahant Avaidyanath, Swami Chinmayanand and Shankaracharya Vasudevananda were also caught on the way. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was arrested at Lucknow Airport. Lal Krishna Advani was already arrested in Bihar. But Ashok Singhal and Srishchandra Dixit, the protagonists of Karseva movement, were not caught by the police. The Singhals reached Ayodhya on 29th October, defying all arrangements. When Srishchandra Dixit was asked how he arrived, he said, ‘If I tell, some people will lose their jobs.’ Dixit has been the Director General of UP Police. The security forces were fighting on two fronts. On one side, a large number of car workers were pressing to enter the city. Others, who had already entered the city, were trying to make their way to the birthplace.

Singhal had a stick on his head

When the first batch went towards Ram Janmabhoomi at 8.30 am, the police chased them. These people came and sat in front of Hanumangarhi. Police said they were all being arrested, but there were no vehicles to transport so many prisoners. Meanwhile, the second batch arrived with Ashok Singhal. This group was stopped by the police by baton charge. The stick fell on Singhal’s head. Even after bleeding from the head, he tried to move forward. But the police caught them and separated them from the group. A group of them started shouting slogans there. The rest of the batch left from Hanumangarhi and surrounding streets at ten in the morning. The police have started the process of arrest. Some sadhus were sitting in the bus brought for the arrested people. The bus was about to depart when a monk pushed the bus driver. Sadhu hijacked the bus. By breaking three iron gates, this sadhu took the bus to a distance of 50 yards from the Ram Janmabhoomi complex.

About 100 sadhus were sitting in this bus. This effort of the sadhus to reach the place of birth by breaking the iron gates also increased the enthusiasm of others. The monk was named Ramprasad. He belonged to an arena in Ayodhya. As soon as the bus moved, the other group started running. By now the earlier sages had entered the interior. Meanwhile, the administration thought of appealing to Srishchandra Dixit and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das to pacify the kar sevaks. Dixit stood on the mound inside the Ram Janmabhoomi and sought permission to appeal for himself and the Mahantji. When the police opened the door for Dixit, a large number of kar sevaks entered the Ram Janmabhoomi complex with him. The atmosphere worsened. Actually Dixit had signaled the car servants to come inside. Kar Sevak started vandalizing inside the building. After Karseva started in the campus, Shrishchandra Dixit said, ‘Lokshakti has won’.

On the other hand, as soon as the news of Ashok Singhal’s injury spread, the pressure was increasing in the street of Hanumangarhi and the number of kar sevaks increased. Despite the lathicharge, around 12 noon, around 40,000 kar sevaks broke through the outer perimeter of security and iron gates and entered the Janmabhoomi area. We even followed them to the birth place but the cameraman could not come. Suddenly three car servants again climbed the dome. The domes were some 30 feet high. We were amazed to see their haste to climb the dome and raise the flag. Each of the three domes was pierced first. Then, raising the flag, these people hurriedly descended.

Army in the evening

It was clear from the action so far that the government has completely failed in Ayodhya. There was a car service to the Ram temple. The flag was hoisted on the domes of the disputed structure. Dome wall, windows broken. The workmen had uprooted the bricks of the outer wall. Vandalism was also done inside the sanctum sanctorum. But the state government and the chief minister denied that the car service and the structure were damaged. At four o’clock in the evening the army was called, but the territory was not handed over to them. The district administration was planning to repair the Babri structure and hand it over to the army. The administration had banned taking photographs. A photograph of the building being demolished has not been published anywhere. Ashok Singhal had said in a statement, ‘I congratulate all the devotees of Ram on the historic victory of the Hindu society.’ After Singhal’s statement, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav gave a statement that no car service took place. There is no damage to the mosque. In Delhi, Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed also congratulated the Chief Minister for handling the critical situation in Ayodhya. 35 people died in violence against the incident across the country and a curfew was imposed in 30 cities.

(Excerpt from Hemant Sharma’s book ‘War in Ayodhya’)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author.

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