Ummid Assistant

Applications open for Manmohan scholarship at Cambridge

IIM-Trichy to offer short courses too at Chennai centre

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home National

Politics of hatred doesn't pay: Babri Masjid demolition eyewitness Mark Tully

Wednesday December 05, 2012 06:53:53 PM, Prashant Sood, IANS

Related Article

Muslims won't give up Babri Masjid land, says Owaisi

Owaisi was addressing a mammoth public meeting organised by the United Muslim Action Committee at MIM headquarters Darussalam here Sunday night, ahead   

The Babri morass: How did it all transpire

20 years after Babri razing, India has moved on

New Delhi: India has recovered from the shock of the cataclysmic events that followed the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, but that dark episode should be taken as a warning against mixing politics with religion and inciting inter-community hatred, says the celebrated former BBC journalist and author Mark Tully who was witness to it.

Tully, who covered the riotous events in Ayodhya on Dec 6, 1992, felt the Ram Janambhoomi movement was not the sole factor for the rise of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the late 1980s and that the decline of the Congress also contributed to the process.

Recalling the events of Dec 6, 1992, the day Sangh Parivar groups were to start building a Ram temple in Ayodhya, Tully said he had taken position on a roof of a building overlooking the mosque. He said Sangh Parivar groups, including the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), had assured the administration that it would only be a symbolic beginning and no harm would come to the mosque.

"Trouble broke out when young men wearing yellow headbands managed to break police barriers and sought to make their way to where a ceremony was to be held symbolising the laying of the first bricks of the temple. Police had instructions not to open fire," Tully recalled in an interview to IANS.

The crowds, he said, first attacked television crews and smashed their cameras. "I saw two young men scramble on top of a dome and start to dismantle it," Tully said, adding that they were soon joined by others.

He said he had to drive from Ayodhya to Faizabad to file his story as the telephone lines had been cut, but getting back to Ayodhya was very difficult.

When he arrived in the town, jubiliant young men were chanting slogans. "They were calling BBC names. I was locked up in one of the temples."

Tully said by the time he was released the mosque had been demolished.

"The demolition has been a day that shocked the world, that shocked India. It led to riots," he said.

He said India had recovered from the crisis and continued with its basic traditions. "(The demolition) is certainly not a burning issue any longer, not a live issue at the moment."

However, the incident, he added, should be taken "as warning by people in terms of mixing politics with religion and inciting hatred". He said there was a danger that someone may raise the issue again to divide India.

Tully said that the demolition of the Babri Masjid had dented India's image but most of it had worn off. "I think India has recovered. India was widely condemned, but no longer. It caused a great deal of damage at that time. Most of that has worn off," Tully said.

Tully, an Englishman who has worked, lived and travelled in India for over four decades, said he did not buy the theory that the Ram Janambhoomi movement was solely responsible for the rise of the BJP and "there were many other factors, including the decline of the Congress".

Tully, who was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the country's third highest civilian honour, in 2005, said the Congress had secured a massive majority under former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections but was not able to form a government five years later. He said the party declined further under former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao (1991-95) and some leaders walked out.

"A lot of that was the fault of the Congress party itself in terms of its inability to hold together," he said.

Tully added that the Babri Masjid issue was revived when the Congress government unlocked the gates of the disputed structure in the mid-1980s.

"After Shah Bano (the Muslim woman who fought for justice for divorced women of her community, only to be rebuffed by the government of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi), they (the Congress government) opened the lock (to the gates of the structure)" Tully said.

He said after Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, there was no agreement in the Congress on a leader and the Ayodhya issue widened the inner-party rift and gave Rao's opponents an opportunity to move against him.

Asked about the possible solution to the dispute, he said both sides had agreed to abide by the decision of the court.

Tully said cases relating to demolition of the Babri Masjid have been on for 20 years. "Twenty years on, cases have not been decided one way or the other. (It is) not a very good reflection on the Indian judicial system. In practical terms, it is not such a bad thing as it had allowed things to fade away," he said.

Tully said it would be dangerous for the BJP to raise the pitch on the Ayodhya issue and the party would be playing into the hands of Congress.

He said the BJP's future lay in being "a slightly right-wing party concerned with development of the country. If it retreats too much into Hindutva, it will put off more people", Tully told IANS.

Asked if Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's projection as the prime ministerial candidate in 2014 could revive the Ayodhya issue, Tully said that Modi had concentrated on development in the state. "Personally, I don't think (he will be projected). If, a big if (he is projected), he will be more concerned about governance."

(Prashant Sood can be contacted at





Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS



More Headlines

The Babri morass: How did it all transpire

20 years after Babri razing, India has moved on

Lok Sabha disrupted over Lalu's remarks

Declare Sir Syed birthplace a national heritage site: AMU alumni

'Humans gobbling up Earth at alarming pace'

Remove liquor vends from religious towns: Haryana khaps

US lawmakers back Zakia Jafri, other Gujarat riot victims

Post 'Love Jihad' caste assertion in Tamil Nadu

Autistic girl plants trees carrying names of Emirate states

US lawmakers seek US visa ban for Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi, Congress partners in loot: Kejriwal


Top Stories

FDI Debate: SP, BSP walk out of Lok Sabha before voting

The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Wednesday walked out of the Lok Sabha before the voting on foreign investment in multi-brand retail.

Government braces for vote on FDI in Lok Sabha

Opposition, allies slam FDI in parliament debate


  Most Read

East Jerusalem settlements: World outrage against Israel on the rise

Australia on Tuesday became the latest country to summon its Israeli ambassador to convey concerns over plans to build new settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Australia  

United Nations tells Israel to join NPT, let in nuclear inspectors

US lawmakers seek US visa ban for Narendra Modi

Ahead of the Gujarat elections, a bipartisan group of 25 lawmakers and the Coalition Against Genocide have called for a continued visa ban for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. The group, led by Republican House of Representatives members  


  News Pick

Delhi hunger strike against arrests of Muslim youths suspended

An eight-day hunger strike here to protest "victimisation of Muslim youths in the name of fighting terrorism" was suspended on Prime Minister  

Hold cash transfer in Himachal, Gujarat: EC to government

Even as the Election Commission (EC) Tuesday expressed its concern over the government's announcement of direct cash transfer and asked it  

Congress manifesto for Gujarat promises free laptops, tablets

The Congress Tuesday roped in Sheila Dikshit, its three-time Delhi Chief Minister, as star campaigner for the crucial Gujarat assembly polls and unveiled its manifesto with a series of promises, including free laptops and tablets  

GMR row: Maldives minister calls Khurshid to pacify India

In an outreach diplomacy aimed at pacifying India, Maldives' Foreign Minister Abdul Samad Abdullah Tuesday rang up External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and explained  

India freezes aid to Maldives, ties under stress


Picture of the Day

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Chairperson, National Advisory Council Mrs Sonia Gandhi with the winner of Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on November 22, 2012.


Recommend the story to your friends



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant



Science & Technology



About us




Government Schemes










Contact us


The Funny Side

Education & Career

    Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.