Babri mosque demolition: Tight security in Ayodhya 20 years after riots

Published: December 6, 2012
More than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in clashes after Babri mosque was torn down on December 6, 1992. PHOTO: AFP

More than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in clashes after Babri mosque was torn down on December 6, 1992. PHOTO: AFP

More than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in clashes after Babri mosque was torn down on December 6, 1992. PHOTO: AFP Indian policemen check the luggage of people on the 20th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya on December 6, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

AYODHYA, INDIA: Indian security forces on Thursday flooded the northern town of Ayodhya where Babri mosque was demolished by Hindu zealots 20 years ago in a move that unleashed a wave of deadly religious riots.

More than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in clashes in New Delhi, Mumbai and other cities after the Babri mosque in Ayodhya was torn down on December 6, 1992 by protesters seeking to build a Hindu temple on the site.

Opposing sides still wrangle over control of the tightly-guarded spot, with the Supreme Court last year suspending a ruling that divided it into three sections — one for Hindus, one for Muslims and one for a local Hindu trust.

At least 5,000 police were out in force in Ayodhya and surrounding areas of Uttar Pradesh state, with officers manning road blocks and monitoring key intersections to prevent any demonstrations.

Police and paramilitary troops sealed off streets to the disputed area, searched cars and enforced a magistrate’s order banning unlawful assembly on the anniversary of the demolition.

No rallies or unrest were reported during the day, which coincided with an official holiday commemorating B.R. Ambedkar, the chief architect of India’s 1947 constitution.

Amarnath Shastri, a retired advocate who lives in Ayodhya, told AFP that inter-religious tensions had calmed since 1992, though many Muslims still feel marginalised.

“Everyone now wants the town to develop, jobs to come up and industry to flourish,” he said. “People have realised that all such actions (in 1992) were wasteful.”

Hindu fundamentalists destroyed  the mosque because they said it was built by the Mughal emperor Babur on the site of a temple marking the birthplace of the Hindu warrior god Ram.

The destruction infuriated Muslims, who make up 13 percent of India’s population, and many feared the country was heading for an era of Hindu-Muslim bloodshed.

In the most serious outbreak of religious unrest since Ayodhya, about 2,000 people — mostly Muslims — died in riots in Gujarat state in 2002.


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Reader Comments (13)

  • secularsheet
    Dec 6, 2012 - 3:45PM

    Pakistan daily destroy temples since 1947 but there are no “remarkable days” since they don’t care about anything non-muslim.


  • Cynical
    Dec 6, 2012 - 6:05PM

    It would like to know,
    a) the no of Temples in Pakistan as on 14th August,1947 and the same as on today and
    b) the no of Mosques in India on the same dates.
    A comparison of increase/decrease (as the case may be) should be a good measure of the relative tolerance of religious minorities in both countries.


  • Insaan
    Dec 6, 2012 - 6:31PM

    Author did not try to find out how many temples were destroyed in Pakistan in revenge for Babri Masjid demolition.

    In Pakistan, the government closed offices and schools on 7 December to protest the demolition of the Babri Mosque.[4] ….. Strikes were held across the country while Muslim mobs attacked and destroyed as many as 30 temples in one day by means of fire and bulldozers.

    Main article: 1992 Bangladesh pogroms

    In December 1992, Muslims attacked and burnt down Hindu temples, shops, and houses across the country.[6] An India-Bangladesh cricket match was disrupted when a crowd of an estimated 5,000 men tried to storm into the Bangabandhu National Stadium in the national capital of Dhaka.[6] The Dhaka office of Air India was stormed and destroyed.[4] Ten people were reportedly killed. Many Hindu women were raped, and hundreds of Hindu temples and homes were destroyed.[6] The aftermath of the violence forced the Bangladeshi Hindu community to curtail the 1993 celebrations of Durga Puja. They called for the destroyed temples to be repaired and investigations be held regarding the atrocities against Hindus in Bangladesh.[6]

    The attacks on the Bangladeshi Hindu community were described in a 1993 novel, Lajja (“Shame”), by Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen. The book is about the persecution of a Hindu family by Muslims in Bangladesh in the post-Babri Mosque demolition period. The publication of the novel led to calls from Muslims to ban the book and led to death threats against Nasrin by Islamic organisations.[7][8][9]


  • KDP
    Dec 6, 2012 - 6:42PM

    Should be noted that the Mosque was abandoned and not used for prayers


  • ethicalman
    Dec 6, 2012 - 7:31PM

    I know the reaction from Muslim countries are not even considered to ponder about ..(after 1992) by Hindus and non muslims..Hence…this means that whatever muslims do to non muslims is right (destroying temples, raping Hindu women, maiming properties..)..and it’s not to be even talked about…

    Just this week an ancient Hindu temple was was just destroyed..even then Muslims want to say how liberal Islam is..and muslims are…

    Why are we wasting energies in arguing when muslims already think thier conscience is clear..

    God help India and Hindus..!!


  • jesus saves
    Dec 6, 2012 - 7:40PM

    Really this is about India, not Pakistan however you look at it.
    btw, the number of demolished churches in india just in the last several years runs in hundreds. Do you r own research and then come back to criticize someone else that has never claimed to be shining!


  • KDP
    Dec 6, 2012 - 8:01PM

    I urge readers to read the following viewpoint on BBC website that explains Hindu extremism has failed to take hold in India


  • some guy
    Dec 6, 2012 - 8:07PM

    There is only one religion from God- That is peace acquired by submitting to the will of God and that is Islam.


  • some guy
    Dec 6, 2012 - 8:08PM

    Idol Worship is the Biggest of all Sins…


  • ethicalman
    Dec 6, 2012 - 8:35PM

    @jesus saves…Christianity was as fundamentalist as Islam is today (Indian Chrisitanty is even today as fundoo)..and all you jesus saves creature are product of that..I hope you read some literature about it..not just Goa, but all India..and your churches are being on the order made by the vatican Catholic lady of congress..u know who she is..on tax payers if these Chrisitan NGO’s are not getting enoung funds frm Europe and US…Best example is South 70’s (US Church) it was a Buddhist dominated nation and today it is a Christian dominated country..

    @some guy The ppl I was talking about that makes Pakistan defiantly You..


  • sick of this nonsense
    Dec 6, 2012 - 8:52PM

    all true but it was the babri mosque incident that fueled the fire. Hence Hindus in the Babri mosque incident are just as guilty as the Muslims involved in the aftermath tyranny.


  • Misery Ghalib
    Dec 6, 2012 - 11:07PM

    @some guy: – how do you know Islam is THE religion from God ?
    @jesus saves – how do you know jesus saves ? just because somebody told you ?


  • gp65
    Dec 7, 2012 - 5:41AM

    @sick of this nonsense: “@Insaan:
    all true but it was the babri mosque incident that fueled the fire. Hence Hindus in the Babri mosque incident are just as guilty as the Muslims involved in the aftermath tyranny.”

    I see. Reaction to Babri structure (it had not been used for prayers snce 1949 and cannot be described as a mosque) in terms of killing Hindus and destroying temples in Muslim countries are justified as natural tit for tat reactions. But reactions to 60 Hindu pilgrims being killed i Godhra are not justified.

    Also has anyone reacted to te temple that was recently razed to ground in Karachi> What about the graves desecrated in Lahore? What about the Bamiyan Buddhas?

    I don’t justify the destruction of Babri structure but if you justify the highly violent Musim reaction to that event, you must also stop finding fault with Gujarat riots using the exact same logic.


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