The VICE Guide to Right Now

A Karnataka School Made Its Students Recreate the Babri Masjid Demolition for a Play

An RSS leader who runs the school says he is proud and promises more events similar to the play which ended with the crowd and children excitedly chanting "Jai Shri Ram".
Mumbai, IN
December 17, 2019, 8:18am
Karnataka school makes students reenact babri masjid demolition
Photo: Screenshots from video posted by Twitter user @dramadhikari 

Barely a month after the controversial Ayodhya verdict cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Mandir at the disputed site at Ayodhya—where on December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished leading to riots and forever altering the social fabric of the nation—a school in Karnataka has come under fire for making its students recreate the deadly incident that prompted court proceedings.

Sri Rama Vidyakendra High School in the Dakshin Kannada district—an institution owned by Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, who happens to be a leader of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)—made its students re-enact the Babri Masjid demolition at a cultural event held on Sunday, December 15.

In a video that has now gone viral, hundreds of students from class 11 and 12 dressed in white shirts donning saffron dhotis and flags can be spotted charging towards a Babri Masjid poster and tearing it away. As these events unfold, a narrator on the loudspeaker says, “With whatever they could find, they begin the demolition of Babri Masjid. They, devotees of Hanuman, high on emotions, thus bring down the Babri Masjid,” after which the crowd and children can be heard cheering and excitedly chanting “Jai Shri Ram". Union minister and BJP MP Sadananda Gowda was the chief guest at the event, along with Puducherry governor and former cop Kiran Bedi in attendance.

While this highly problematic play is pissing off everyone on social media, the RSS leader who asked for it to be orchestrated maintains that he is “proud” of the students and promised more such events in the future. When questioned about whether this could affect communal harmony, he simply said, “I want to make something clear, it is not Babri Masjid but it was a “Babri structure. The day the structure was brought down was a historic day and it was important to tell our younger generation about it.” He tried to justify his actions by saying that he believes Muslims don’t agree with the historic verdict and thus it is important to “showcase victorious moments of the Hindu community.” This is the same guy whom Gauri Lankesh, a journalist who was allegedly murdered by Hindutva forces, had written about saying, “Bhat’s work was to ensure that the subtle communal agitation started by Sangh Parivar in Kalladka is spread to the entire South Canara region and Udupi District in an organised manner so as to also feed the saffronisation required for the upcoming assembly election.”

Not only have social media citizens called out the play for pushing hate speech and impacting impressionable minds, but an FIR has also been registered under Sections 295A for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings and 298 for uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person, by the Bantwal Town police.

Follow Shamani Joshi on Instagram.