Ayodhya firing incident

police firing in Ayodhya

The Ayodhya firing incident describes the occasion when the Uttar Pradesh police fired live ammunition at civilians on two separate days, 30 October 1990 and 2 November 1990.

The firing incident had a major impact on Uttar Pradesh and on Indian national politics.

Quotes edit

  • Bullets for the kar sevaks, biryani for the Kashmiri militants.
    • L. K. Advani. Commenting on the contrast of the Government's treatment of the Hindu agitation by Hindu kar sevaks and of armed Kashmiri militants who were provided with biryani during the siege of the Char-e-Sharif mosque. Quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p58
  • While a proper discussion of this question must wait, I would wish to add in conclusion that V.P. Singh and Mulayam Singh have rendered a yeoman's service to the cause of Hindu Rashtra, the former by splitting the secularist forces in the political realm, and the latter by showing Hindus how contemptuous and brutal the Indian state can be in its treatment of them.
    • Girilal Jain, in : Elst, Koenraad: Ayodhya and after, Appendix I Limits of the Hindu Rashtra
  • There is no dearth of stories about our police and security forces' acts of brutality; however, the mercilessness shown by them in Ayodhya is unparalleled. We never expected our government or the police to attack unarmed demonstrators at such close range, ravage religious places, and kill priests, women....
    • JPRS Report: Near East & South Asia - Issue 91001 - Page 37. United States. Joint Publications Research Service, United States. Foreign Broadcast Information Service. 1991.
  • The Hindus have been so much humiliated and insulted since 1947 that sometimes it seems doubtful whether they are living in their own country adding that in Kashmir & Punjab Hindu blood is being shed so much so that even in Ayodhya unarmed Kar Sevaks including the Sadhus were brutally killed.
    • From a speech by Sadhvi Ritambhara, which was considered to be actionable, objectionable under 153-A of Indian Penal Code 'on the ground of inciting the Hindus in the context of construction of Shri Ram Temple at Ayodhya and attempting to spread feelings of animosity against the Muslims'. Quoted from ' The Case of Sadhvi Ritambhara', in Goel, Sita Ram (ed.) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [1]
  • Meanwhile in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav was playing it rough. He pre-emptively arrested all leaders of organizations involved in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. In order to prevent Kar Sevaks from going to Ayodhya, he suspended all public transport in the state, blocked roads, and imposed curfew in a number of cities. House-to-house searches for hiding Kar Sevaks were carried out, the borders were sealed, and massive numbers of Hindus (as well as a number of Muslim Kar Sevaks) were jailed. The numbers cited vary between one and eight lakhs, which is a lot more than during the Emergency or the Quit India movement in the whole country. On October 30, when according to Mulayam's boast, no bird would be able to fly into Ayodhya, thousands of Kar Sevaks broke through the police defenses thanks to their sheer numbers... Gradually, the police forces regained control and drove the Kar Sevaks out, arresting many, and killing about 10, others cite figures from 5 to 50.... On November 2, the Kar Sevaks came back. As they were sitting or standing in the narrow lanes near the Janmabhoomi site (secularists say they were slowly moving towards it), the police opened fire... The death toll is a matter of dispute, as many of the bodies have been carried off in Army vans, and unceremoniously disposed of in an unknown place... The BJP appealed to the president to depose Mulayam, and cited the figure of 168 people killed. Some days after, the VHP claimed it could substantiate a death toll of about 400, or as many as were killed by general Dyer at Jallianwala Bagh.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • Another startling fact is that the English-language papers refused to come up with the correct figures of the Kar Sevaks killed in police firing. In the afternoon of November 2, I was visiting someone who has connections with a well-known daily. He called the office and was told by one staff reporter that the death toll was already 125. Now, if a reporter of a secularist paper says 125 got killed, no one is going to make me believe that the number is less than 125. Yet, the following day, the headlines of the same paper put the death toll at 17. I have inquired about the massacre among many people in Ayodhya. Common local people, including eyewitnesses, said invariably that thousands had been killed : two thousand, five thousand. I guess that even eyewitnesses were not in a position to count very accurately. However, the different accounts given to me by hospital personnel, policemen, Hindu activists, converge to a death toll of about 400. The official death toll of 45 for the different days of shooting together is quite untenable, considering that the VHP cremated 76 bodies, of which the ashes were taken in procession through India, while some bodies had been taken in procession through India, while some bodies had been taken for cremation by the families, and many more had been collected and taken away by the security forces (three trucks full, according to VHP sources). The figure of 168 which the BJP gave the day after, gives the correct order of magnitude, but probably on the low side. So, if some papers stick to figures below 20, they are just telling lies. Some of them have been so adamant in their misinformation campaign that they refused to mention any other figure even when quoting from speeches by BJP or VHP people, replacing"500 were killed" with " a number were killed". Yet, it seems no one has had the courage to file a plaint with the Press Council against this blatant misinformation. On the contrary: two months after the massacre, the Press Council has condemned the dailies that gave three-digit figures (even if as low as 120).
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • "Ram Janamsthan Mandir Nirman Andolan was neither anti-Muslim, nor anti-Masjid, because crores of people sent lakhs of karsewaks to Ayodhya. Not even one Muslim or Masjid was affected because it was a fight for the right, and not for enmity. The massacre which took place back then (1990), today it has been officially exposed. The SP and BSP along with Congress tried to shield the incident.
    • Indresh Kumar quoted in Republic World [2]
  • In 2010 I met [the] mother of the Kothari brothers... She said that her sons had been killed by police bullets... She questioned me about who had ordered the firing. On whether any inquiry had beenn conducted, and if those who were guilty of this action were punished. She burst into tears. It appeared that the heinous offenders had not been punished.
    • Ranjana Agnihotri: SriRam Janmbhoomi Ayodhya Unpunished Conspiracy (2017) ISBN 978194661403
  • Not even a bird shall be able to enter Ayodhya. ... We will crush them.
    • Mulayam Singh Yadav. Comments against the planned demonstrations by kar sevaks (activists) in Ayodhya. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • The foreign press has not added any extra facts or perspective to the reporting on Ayodhya. It has mostly copied the bias of the Indian press.... This time, Newsweek gave an unbelievably biased report. It simply did not mention the shot-out against unarmed Kar Sevaks on November 2, following the Indian secularists' line that you should grant the Hindus nothing, not even their martyrs. But it did mention a selected part of the Gonda carnage, a colorful description of the murder of Muslims in Kanje Mau (Gonda), concealing the fact that this carnage had started with an attack on a Hindu procession.... About the dispute itself, the foreign press has not relayed the Hindu viewpoint at all. Most papers and weeklies have at no point informed their readers that the disputed place is functionally not a mosque but a flourishing Ram temple.. In fact, it is the BMAC and BMMCC who want to snatch a sacred place from the Hindus, but hardly any foreign reader has been informed of this.. On the whole, the foreign press has taken exactly the same attitude (distortions and concealment and all) as the secularist press in India. I have never seen before that all the papers for weeks on end reported something that was so diametrically the opposite of what was really happening.. When seven local U.P. dailies published realistic estimates of the death toll on November 2, instead of Mulayam's "sixteen", all issues were rounded up from the bookstalls, and a number of scribes and editors were arrested. Moreover, during the Kar Seva week, journalists in U.P. were continually harassed and prevented from doing their job. The Press Council, the Delhi Journalists' Association,.. have strongly protested against this attack on the press.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society. Chapter 7.
  • One sweet is delicious, but a bagful of them is just nauseating. Fifteen minutes of this communal harmony mantra was just insupportable, at least in a news bulletin. In no free democratic country is the news ever so blacked out by streamlined propaganda. Although the message drilled into the viewers' heads was a rather harmless one, the news programme was formally a purely Stalinist show. This replacement of news by government advice to maintain communal harmony was of course for the viewers' own good... Now the scandal is that some newspapers, which normally champion the right to information, actually supported this round of censorship. In a column titled Responsible Censorship, Rajdeep Sardesai called the Doordarshan version, including the statement by V.P. Singh,"blatant untruth". What a stern condemnation, you think. But then he continues and starts justifying this lie for the people's own good, "to shield viewers from the increasing potency of Hindu nationalism". Those people who had "expected [Doordarshan] to telecast Kar Sevaks climbing the walls of the Babri Masjid" and who "expect Doordarshan to be just a dispassionate observer of events", have understood nothing of despotic secularism. "They insist that the viewer's right to know should not be interfered with in any way. Such a line of thought is a victim of some diffused libertarian doctrine where the right to know survives only in unvarnished, absolutist form. However, transporting and adapting such western concepts to the Indian scenario is unrealistic..." This twisting of concepts to justify despotism, concludes by claiming that censorship was necessary to "prevent our right to information from spreading mayhem in the country", because "on an emotive temple-masjid issue that threatens to polarize the nation the electronic medium cannot allow the people to live through symbols and inflammatory images". So this censorship has prevented riots? One wouldn't say so, judging from mr. Sardesai's own remark: "That the possibility of communal violence erupting was great has been proved by subsequent events."
    • Rajdeep Sardesai Times of India, 14/11/1990. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • It (firing on kar sewaks) was wrong then (1990). Killing people is no joke.

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