January 17, 2024

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‘The first kar sevak’: ADM who blocked a CM after Ram Lalla ‘appeared’ in 1949 | Political Pulse News

3 min read

FORMER VHP leader Ashok Singhal called his grandfather “the first kar sevak of the Ayodhya movement”, recalls Raghvendra Singh, former Union Culture Secretary and ex-director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

Guru Dutt Singh earned that title for his actions as the Faizabad city magistrate and additional district magistrate in the days following the mysterious appearance of Ram Lalla idol inside the disputed Babri Masjid structure in December 1949. After Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru directed Chief Minister Govind Ballabh Pant to ensure that the idol was removed, Guru Dutt stood firm and did not let the CM enter Faizabad-Ayodhya, Raghvendra says.

“On December 22-23, Ram Lalla appeared (in the Babri Masjid) and the news spread locally. Then Pakistan Radio showed the news and said that Hindus are capturing all the spaces they had vacated after Partition. The Central government in Delhi immediately came under pressure. They said if this status was allowed to prevail, the (Muslim) community would distance itself from the Congress party. Chief Minister Pant was asked to look into the matter. He got in touch with the district administration. A report was asked for, and it was submitted. It said that seeing the state of mind of the people, there would be a problem if the idol was removed,” Raghvendra says, adding that the guard of the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) testified seeing a light and fainting (when talking about the appearance of the idol).

He adds that word reached Nehru, and he sent Pant to Ayodhya. Raghvendra says Guru Dutt met the CM on the boundaries of Faizabad, and advised him not to visit given the charged atmosphere, and the feeling among the people that both the state and Central governments wanted the idol of Ram Lalla removed.

An angry Pant told Guru Dutt he would have to face the consequences, Raghvendra says. “He (Guru Dutt) came back and discussed it with his near and dear ones, and submitted his resignation. But he passed two orders before resigning – one, that the prayers happening near the Ram Chabutra would continue, and, two, Section 144 would be imposed so that more people do not come there and create problems.”

Festive offer

Guru Dutt was made to vacate his official accommodation in the middle of the night and his belongings removed, Raghvendra says. “He had to stay in the open. The next day, he shifted for some time to the vacant third floor of the house of his acquaintance Bhagwati Babu. Later, he built his own house called Ram Bhawan near the Faizabad bus stand,” Raghvendra says.

According to the grandson, the government also created problems with Guru Dutt’s pension. But people were fond of him and he went on to become the chairperson of the municipality. Subsequently, he joined the Jana Sangh and was the district chief of the Jana Sangh, Raghvendra says.

He recalls receiving at their home visitors such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Murli Manohar Joshi and Gumnami Baba, about whom there was a rumour that he was Netaji Subhas Bose in disguise. Now his brother Shakti Singh, who has built a museum in Ayodhya, lives on the premises.

Raghvendra also says that even before the Ram Lalla idol was placed in the Babri Masjid on the night of December 22-23, 1949, there were demands that a temple be constructed near the Ram Chabutra within its premises.

“A petition was made to the UP government in July 1949 that a temple should come up there. The government forwarded it to the district administration of Faizabad for its comments and a report. My grandfather Guru Dutt Singh ji was asked to submit a report to the DM. He did so. He said that the land belongs to the government and that people have faith in Ram Lalla and want a grand temple. So, a positive report was sent by him in October. While all this was happening, at the Ram Chabutra, renditions of Ramcharit Manas started.”

Guru Dutt was not the only official who backed the installation of the idol. Then Ayodhya DM K K K Nair also refused to remove the idol from the disputed masjid, telling the government to sack him if it wanted the idol removed, as per reports.

In 1952, Nair’s wife Shakuntala was given a ticket to the Gonda Lok Sabha seat by the Hindu Mahasabha. She won.

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