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Why was Hindu right-wing celebrating Babri demolition day as Shaurya Diwas on social media?

Hindu extremist mob atop Babri mosque in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh on December 6, 1992. | Picture: HT

On the 30th anniversary of the demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh by Hindu karsevaks, social media was abuzz with hateful trends targetting India’s Muslim community and celebrating the day as Shaurya Diwas (Infantry Day). 

Vipul Kumar and Alishan Jafri | TwoCircles.net 

NEW DELHI — On October 27, the Union Minister for Defence, Rajnath Singh was in Srinagar, Jammu Kashmir. He was marking the ‘Shaurya Diwas’ (Infantry Day) to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Indian army’s landing in Kashmir in 1947, which ensured the first military victory of independent India over Pakistan. He paid tributes to the armed forces who laid down their lives to protect the unity and integrity of India by evicting the Pakistani forces from J&K. A day later, the ‘Instrument of Accession’ was signed between ruler Maharaja Hari Singh and the Republic of India.

For the Hindu right wing on social media, however, a different date was celebrated as Shaurya Diwas. The date was the 30th anniversary of the infamous demolition of the 500-year-old Babri mosque by Hindu extremists in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh on December 6. Not just ordinary citizens, but Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries and Jal Shakti Prahlad Patel also ‘observed’ December 6 as Shaurya Diwas. Unlike Rajnath Singh’s tribute to the armed forces on 27 October in Srinagar, Patel paid tribute to the violent mob that demolished the Babri mosque. His tweet in Hindi on December 6 said, “I wish heartiest congratulations to all the worshippers of Ram. Tribute to all the Karsevaks and worshippers of Ram who laid down their lives in Ayodhya for the construction of Ram temple.” He had tagged the Twitter accounts of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its president, Jagat Prakash Nadda.

December 6 is a date marked with trauma for India’s Muslim minority community as on this day in December 1992, a 500-year-old mosque—Babri mosque in Ayodhya city of Uttar Pradesh was demolished by a mob of thousands of karsevaks. They claimed that a Hindu temple stood at the same site before the mosque was built. This was followed by three decades of legal battles and finally in 2020, in a controversial decision, the Supreme Court of India ruled that a temple should be built on the land. In the aftermath of the demolition, large-scale riots were triggered across the country leaving thousands dead and hundreds of houses and shops burnt down. Alone in Ayodhya, 30 local mosques were reportedly attacked and many Muslim houses and shops were burnt down.

The Ayodhya verdict has opened a floodgate of such legal challenges with attempts by right-wing Hindu groups to free many more temples that they claim were converted into mosques. In the last few years, December 6 has become one such day when open calls to demolish other mosques are made viral on social media. 

Certain photos, videos, posts and memes commonly popular across different digital platforms during the demolition anniversary period. This includes an old interview of Kalyan Singh, the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh at the time of the Babri demolition, the speech of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee allegedly instigating his audience to demolish the Babri Mosque, photos of the Kothari brothers killed in police firing while doing karseva in 1992. The theme of the content is an anti-muslim narrative in the name of celebrating the demolition of Babri mosque as a victory. 

The interview of Kalyan Singh, then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh during the demolition, was posted by many users to celebrate the demolition of Babri mosque. 

A video posted by a Twitter user named Sameet Thakkar (@thakkar_sammeet) has 49, 000 views. In the video, Kalyan Singh is heard saying, “I have no regret of Babri demolition, instead I’m proud of the demolition.”

Offline events on Shaurya Diwas
Sadhvi Prachi, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist often accused of delivering anti-Muslim hate speeches, posted a video on her Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using hashtag #शौर्य_दिवस. The video is of an event named शौर्य संचलन (roughly translates to Infantry movement) organized at a college. In the video, she says India is already a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation). “This country belongs to Hindus. When partition happened ‘Pakistan was given to them and this country was given to Hindus. Those who say that their grandfather is Abdullah will start naming their grandfather Rampal,” she says. 

Another video with 10,000 views was posted on Twitter by a user named @placardguy with 130K followers. @placardguy gives credit to the YouTube channel @prachayam with 121K followers who have also posted the video and has 57.3K views. @prachyam has also posted a link to the same video to a YouTube channel named Prachyam. The YouTube channel has 2.14 lakh subscribers and it was first posted on 27 May 2020. The lyrics say, “Let’s go to Ayodhya and show the strength of Hindus. Using the oil of Dabur, let’s destroy the legacy of Babar.” This song is one of the most popular songs used to mock and humiliate Muslims. This account generally posts conspiracy theories promoting Hindu supremacism, anti-Congress and Islamophobia. 


The infamous Hindu Trads, who made headlines after Muslim women were ‘auctioned’ online through the Sulli Deal and Bulli Bai apps, have been running violent campaigns targeting different mosques for a while now. Hateful posts and memes on Reddit are inciting violence against Muslims. One popular viral meme depicts Pepe The Frog wielding weapons such as hammers and axes. The meme is a parody of the Karsevaks, who demolished the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. This time around, Trads posted several dehumanizing memes targeting Muslims and their religious places. They depict meme characters beheading Muslims. One meme shows cauliflower farmers—a reference to the Logain massacre—climbing over the domes of a mosque.

On December 6, with the celebration of the act of the Babri Mosque demolition, social media was also flooded with messages and memes of the demolition of other Muslim religious places too. Among the lists of such places, Eidgah of Mathura and Gyanvapi of Varanasi is on top. The trend did not limit to online space. 

A member of an organization named Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha was arrested in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh before he was going to recite Hanuman Chalisa in Eidgah adjacent to Krishna Janmabhoomi in Mathura.

According to a newspaper cutting shared by Mathura police on Twitter, “40 people were detained and put under house arrest on 6th December. They all were planning to enter the disputed Krishna Janmabhoomi – Shahi Masjid area to read Hanuman Chalisa. The newspaper cutting has a police statement which states, “On 28 November an inflammatory video using foul language for Shahi-Idgah was posted by one Sant Yuvaraj. He was booked by police and was on search after the post. 40 swords were also recovered and Sant Yuvraj told police that this was to take to Mathura.”

Mahant Raju Das, who has been in the news for announcing a bounty on the head of a filmmaker for allegedly ‘hurting sentiments,’ posted a photo on Facebook. He can be seen standing and smiling with other police officers smiling too. His post read “Infantry day: Ayodhya is mine, ready for Kashi, Next is Mathura. Kar seva will happen on 6th December in Mathura. This time we are under house arrest but Jay Shri Krishna will be our reply next time.” In line with the popular narrative of Hindutva politics, the post is celebrating the demolition of the Babri Mosque and calls for ‘reclaiming’ Mathura and Varanasi in the same way.

Meanwhile, while Shaurya Diwas was trending across the internet to mark the demolition of Babri mosque, another section of users were ‘observing’ December 6 as a black day, and as Shaheed Diwas. A photo of a person went viral in which he was seen holding a poster saying ‘Rebuild Babri, #30years of Injustice’ during a Football world cup match going on in Qatar. Many observed the day as a blot on India’s democracy. 



Vipul Kumar is a freelance journalist and a student at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. He tweets at @vipulizm  

Alishan Jafri is a journalist and writer currently based in New Delhi. He tweets at @alishan_jafri