In a setback to L K Advani in the Babri Masjid demolition case, a senior IPS officer on Friday told a special CBI court in Rae Bareli that the BJP leader made provocative speech at Ayodhya on the day the structure was brought down 17 years ago.
Deposing as a prosecution witness in the case in which Advani and other Sangh Parivar leaders have been accused of inciting violence, 1990-batch officer Anju Gupta said Sangh activists like Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti and Sadhvi Rithambhara also made provocative speeches.
Advani and other BJP leaders had repeatedly said that a Ram temple will be built at the same spot where the 16th century mosque stood, Gupta, who was the personal security officer of Advani during that period, told the court.
After her deposition, Gupta was cross-examined by the defence. The court later adjourned the hearing in the case to April 23 when cross-examination of the IPS officer will resume.
Gupta told the court that Advani gave provocative speech at Ayodhya on the day Babri Masjid was demolished. She said Advani wanted to know from her what was happening at the disputed site. She told Advani that people were trying to climb the domes and some of them fell down and were hurt.
On hearing this, Advani expressed desire to go to the site and appeal to the people to come down from the domes, the IPS officer deposed. Gupta said after consultation with senior officials, the BJP leader was told that it was not desirable for him to go there as any mishap involving him may make the situation go out of control.
Advani then sent Bharti there but she came back after some time, Gupta said. She also said that she saw people carrying tools like shovels and rods.
While addressing a gathering Joshi said irrespective of what then Prime Minister P V Narsimha Rao says, the temple will be built there itself. "Let the mosque be built anywhere," he said, according to Gupta.
Gupta also told the court that after the domes of the mosque were brought down, Bharti and Rithambara hugged each other and distributed sweets.
They also congratulated Advani and BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, she said.
Gupta, who is currently posted with R&AW in Delhi, had earlier deposed before the CBI, which probed the demolition of the 16th century mosque.
She had made a detailed statement on the movement and activities of various Sangh leaders, including Advani, during the incident of December 6, 1992. It formed a key part of the criminal case the CBI filed against Advani, Joshi, Bharti, Katiyar, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Rithambhara in 1993.
The officer said, "no leader ever appealed to stop the demolition."
Gupta said Advani asked her to arrange a telephonic talk with UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh and the district magistrate and senior superintendent of police, Faizabad.
To this, Gupta said that she was not in a position to arrange a conversation with Singh. However, the DM and SSP came to the dais atop Ram Katha Kunj after messages were sent to them and had a closed-door meeting with Advani and others, she said.
Advani later called up the Chief Minister but what transpired was not known, she told the court.
Gupta claimed that the then DGP S C Dixit, who was also present on the dais, congratulated the security personnel on duty. Their "names will be written in golden letters in the pages of history for their cooperation and not taking any action," Dixit said, according to her.
Gupta said religious hymns were sung all through the day and Acharya Dharmendra said this would erase the "blot", in a reference to Babri Masjid.
She said that at around 2.30 pm on that day she saw smoke emanating from the surrounding localities indicating some arson. Bharti then said from the dais that "Muslims themselves were putting their houses on fire," Gupta said.
The IPS officer that security was not adequate at the area and the administration became lax since December 5. "Kar sevaks allowed only those police jeeps in which the personnel reciprocated to their chants of 'Jai Sree Ram'".
The eight Sangh and BJP leaders were initially charged with making inflammatory speeches, inciting violence and conspiracy in the case.
The conspiracy charge was later dropped and in 2003, Advani was discharged. In July 2005, however, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court reinstated several charges against him. PTI