Kolkata: As arguments drew to a close in the Ayodhya title-suit case that will finally decide the fate of the disputed site with a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reserving its ruling Wednesday, miles away, in the city of Kolkata, Purnima Kothari, eagerly awaits justice for her brothers, who laid down their lives for the construction of the Ram Temple in 1990.
Ram Kothari and Sharad Kothari were killed in the firing that took place on October 30, 1990, while taking part in a “peaceful movement” for the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Their bodies were found in a narrow lane near Hanumangarhi.
“Ever since the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, fixed the deadline of October 17 to conclude hearings, we have been eagerly waiting,” Purnima Kothari says. “Ye insaf ka intezar hai, this is the wait for justice.”
Kothari seeks action against former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and his decision to order the UP police to open fire on 16 kar sevaks in Ayodhya, which claimed the lives of 16. “My brothers were one of them. They were unarmed and killed by the police. It’s only when the Ram Mandir is finally built that their souls will rest in peace,” she says.
The firing had earned him the nickname of ‘Mullah Mulayam’.
Kothari told News18 that at the time of the firing, his brothers were singing devotional songs at a kirtan in Hanumangarhi area. “It is unfortunate that even after more than 28 years, nothing happened in the case,” he says.
Ram and Sharad Kothari were regular members of the RSS shakha. At the young age of 22 and 20, they had cleared first two years of the three-year RSS training course.
Remembering their journey to Ayodhya 28-years ago, Kothari says, “They left home on October 22 and boarded a train to Ayodhya but only got as far as Varanasi because the government at that time had regulated movement by road and train to stop kar sevaks from gathering there.”
The young kar sevaks then took a taxi, but were soon accosted at a police picket, forcing them to walk nearly 200 kilometers to reach Ayodhya on the morning of 30 October.
On the occasion of Kartik Purnima, kar sevaks started to gather in front of Hunuman Garhi -- a stone’s throw away from the disputed structure – and began marching towards it. The gathering was seen as a direct challenge to Yadav and his warnings.
When they were stopped by the police, they sat on the road in protest and started singing bhajans. That’s when the police suddenly opened fire.
Kolkata resident Rajesh Agarwal, who was with Kothari brothers on that ill-fated day at Ayodhya, said, “Despite the heavy deployment of security forces, the ‘jattha’ (group) lead by the Kothari brothers climbed atop the disputed structure and hoisted the ‘bhagwa dhwaj’.”
He believes that October 18 is going to be a historic day. “The verdict will be in our favour and finally Ram and Sharad’s souls will rest in peace,” Agarwal says. “From then on, we will celebrate the day as ‘Ram-Sharad Diwas’.”