LUCKNOW: Senior VHP leader and ex-BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti, who is also an accused in the Babri Masjid demoliton case, created a flutter by admitting that it was he who incited the mob of kar sevaks present at the disputed site in Ayodhya to bring down the disputed structure on December 6, 1992.
Refusing to acknowledge it as a mosque, Vilas Vedanti said it was not a masjid by any parameter. "It was an old structure of the temple itself and we brought it down so that a new grand temple could come up in its place," he said in Ayodhya on Friday.
The former BJP MP is among the 13 accused, including LK Advani, MM Joshi, Union minister Uma Bharti, the then Uttar Pradesh CM and current Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh and BJP MP Vinay Katiyar, who will be tried for hatching the criminal conspiracy to bring down the 16-century Babri mosque 25-years ago.
The Supreme Court passed an order to this effect last Wednesday, accepting a CBI plea for restoration of criminal charges against all the 13 accused in the case.
The apex court also asked the premier investigative agency to club the two cases related to kar sevaks and the leaders into one, and start a day-to-day hearing in Lucknow Special Court to decide it within the next two years.
Narrating the course of events, Vilas Vendanti recalled that he was giving a consistent call to the frenzied kar sevaks, who had gathered at the site from every nook and corner of the country, to demolish the structure.
He also claimed that VHP leader Ashok Singhal and Mahant of Gorakhdham Peethh ‘Bade Maharaj’ Avaidyanath were also calling upon the VHP activists and other kar sevaks to raze the structure to the ground.
“Ek dhakka aur do babro masjid thod do,” he recalled.
“Yes I had a definite role in demolition, if you want to hang me for my act I am ready. On that day all senior BJP and VHP leaders were on the stage and lakhs of Kar Sewaks were on the ground.
On December 5 and 6, 1992, all the senior leaders including Lal Krishna Advani, Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Ritambhara, Vinay Katiyar were present in Ayodhya,” he claimed.
“Advani and Joshi, however, have been falsely implicated in the case. The charges of criminal conspiracy against them are false. In fact, both the leaders along with Rajmata Vijay Raje Scindia were requesting the mob of kar sevaks to stop the destruction. They were calming the kar sevaks down," he maintained.
The two names taken by Vedanti as those who joined him in inciting the mob are no longer alive to affirm his testimony.
Meanwhile, Muslim leaders have accepted Vedanti’s statement with a pinch of salt. While Iqbal Ansari, son of late Hashim Ansari, one of the original plaintiffs from the Muslim side sought the toughest punishment for the accused as a deterrent for others, Zafaryab Jilani , president Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) and the lawyer who is representing the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMLB) in the case in the Supreme Court welcomed Vedanti’s admission.
However, he exhorted the VHP leader to repeat the same testimony in the court of law during the trial.