By Srawan Shukla/DNA
For some former kar sevaks bringing down the Babri Masjid is now no longer a matter of pride but one of anguish. Once fiercely determined to the cause of the Ram temple these men have have embraced Islam in a bid to find forgiveness.
Balbir Singh is a case in point. This former Shiv Sena leader from Panipat made history as he climbed atop the raized Babri Masjid, on a dateline India will never forget — December 6, 1992. Today, Singh is now better known as Mohammed Aamir and his colleague, Yogendra Pal, Mohammed Umar. Both of them have vowed to construct and renovate 100 mosques during their lifetime as repentance for what they had done. So far, Singh, now Aamir, says, they have managed 40.
Singh’s transformation is all the more dramatic as he is known as the first karsevak on the dome to raze the Babri mosque for which he received a hero’s welcome as he returned to his home town, Panipat. Two bricks were carried back by him which are still kept in the Shiv Sena’s office there.
It was when he was in Deoband to assassinate Muslim cleric, Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui that he changed. After listening to the religious sermons of the Maulana, Singh confronted him not as an enemy but as someone “who had sinned against the house of God.” It was then he embraced Islam. But the conversion has not been easy. Today, Aamir, has left his home town Panipat far behind to settle in Hyderabad where he is married to a Muslim lady. In another twist of fate, Aamir also runs a school to spread the teachings of Islam.
It isn’t just Balbir Singh or Yogendra Pal that are haunted by their past, other kar sevaks too are doing their best to exorcise the memories of shame and guilt. Shive Prasad, a former youth leader of the Bajrang Dal in Ayodhya, is one of them. Prasad had given training to about 4,000 kar sevaks and he and his team had actively participated in pulling down the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
Within a year after the demolition, Prasad went deep into depression, suffering bouts of hallucination, blaming himself for having committed an “unforgivable sin.” Prasad visited psychiatrists, tantriks and saints but there was no peace in his mind. For the next five years, he lived the life of a recluse and in 1997, he went to Sharjah to seek employment In 1999, he formally embraced Islam in Sharjah and became Mohammed Mustafa.
But Mustafa’s journey towards atonement has not been easy. He has been ostracised by his family and the Sangh Parivar has threatened to kill him should he ever return to India. Repentance, it seems, has come at a heavy cost. Source DNA