Flashback with FPJ: Ahead of Ayodhya Bhoomi Pujan, a look at reportage of 1992 Babri Masjid demolition

The Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid debate had been laid to rest after the Supreme Court verdict that paved the way for the construction of a temple at the disputed site. And on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for the upcoming structure, as thousands watch and celebrations take place across the country and beyond.

But while we have many articles on the aforementioned festivities, this one goes back to the beginning. Or more specifically, to the single best known instance in the long timeline of the dispute -- the demolition of Babri Masjid.

We dug deep into the archives, back to The Free Press Journal’s December 7, 1992 edition.

Flashback with FPJ: Ahead of Ayodhya Bhoomi Pujan, a look at reportage of 1992 Babri Masjid demolition

As the Free Press Journal reported, "the entire Babri Masjid Structure, on Sunday, was totally razed to the ground by frenzied Hindu Kar Sevaks. At 11.15 am on Sunday, lakhs of Kar Sevaks who had not been allowed to enter the walled area, broke down the barricade and fencing and stormed the mosque".

Such was the magnitude of the topic that it dominated the entire front page.

Flashback with FPJ: Ahead of Ayodhya Bhoomi Pujan, a look at reportage of 1992 Babri Masjid demolition

It took around five hours for the mosque to fall to the onslaught. Armed with sickles, poles from the barricading ropes and anything else which they could lay their hands on, thousands had climbed over the domes and began to demolish the Babri Masjid structure. The rather frenzied destruction had begun around 11.50 pm.

"The main central dome which was the last to fall crumbled to the ground amid chants of Jai Shri Ram at exactly 4.50 pm," the archived report adds.

Flashback with FPJ: Ahead of Ayodhya Bhoomi Pujan, a look at reportage of 1992 Babri Masjid demolition

Following the incident, there were also several political reactions that assumed significance, and thus made it to news headlines.

While the BJP was reported to have accepted "moral responsibility" the VHP blamed "anti-social elements that had infiltrated the ranks of Kar Sevaks'.

Many called for the Prime Minister to step down. At the same time, then West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu was reported to have criticised then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao for "delay in invoking Article 356 of the constitution against the BJP Government in Uttar Pradesh".

But there were repercussions against the state government too. The issue of a delay aside, Article 356 was eventually invoked. The BJP government in UP was dismissed, and the state assembly was dissolved after an emergency meeting that followed the demolition.

Flashback with FPJ: Ahead of Ayodhya Bhoomi Pujan, a look at reportage of 1992 Babri Masjid demolition
Flashback with FPJ: Ahead of Ayodhya Bhoomi Pujan, a look at reportage of 1992 Babri Masjid demolition

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Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in