The police in Karnataka have booked five members of a school administration near Bantwal taluk in Dakshina Kannada district for allegedly making students re-enact the 1992 demolition of Ayodhya’s Babri Masjid during a school event, PTI reported on Tuesday. This came a day after videos of the school’s December 15 annual sports day, where the performance was held, started doing the rounds on social media.
Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi, Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers DV Sadananda Gowda, and state ministers H Nagesh and Shashikala Jolle had attended the event at Sri Rama Vidya Kendra in Kalladka village. The play ended with the students erecting a “Ram Temple” by replacing the mosque.
The school is owned by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, who is a member of the Hindutva organisation’s south-central regional executive committee.
The police registered a case against Bhat and four others who run the schools under sections 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 298 (deliberate intent to wound religious feelings of any person) of the Indian Penal Code. The complaint was filed by Popular Front of India leader Aboobacker Siddique.
“We have booked five persons of the school management following a complaint by a PFI activist,” said District Superintendent of Police BM Laxmi Prasad. “We have not arrested anyone because investigations are going.” Prasad said evidence was being collected.
Meanwhile, Bhat defended the re-enactment, saying there was nothing wrong in putting up a play on a historical event. “It is not a mosque. It is just a building,” he told The News Minute. “We have depicted Jallianwala Bagh as well. There are hundreds of instances like this and we have to show the injustices that have happened in our country.”
The RSS leader said the organisation had questioned the part of the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya judgement where it was noted that the demolition was illegal and wrong. On November 9, the court had awarded the disputed land to a trust appointed by the Centre for the construction of a Ram temple. The judges also ordered that a five-acre land parcel in Ayodhya be given to the Sunni Waqf Board by the central government or the Uttar Pradesh government for a mosque.
The Babri Masjid was brought down by kar sevaks on December 6, 1992, provoking riots in many parts of India. In 1993, bomb blasts ripped through several parts of Mumbai in retaliation, killing over 300 people.