What had happened on the fateful morning of 6 December in the city of Ayodhya that it got catapulted to one of the most important events in the history of modern India? While most of the narratives from that time was heavily censored because the press was attacked and journalists thrown out of the mosque complex, some photojournalists who managed to tell the tale recall the horrific incident of Ayodhya.
Sanjay Sharma of Hindustan Times had reached there one week back in anticipation of a bigger event – a culmination of LK Advani’s rath yatra. Speaking to CNN-IBN, he recalls shooting a building in Ayodhya that was full of kar sevaks.
On the D-Day, Singh remembers how he had photographed several kar sevaks who were preparing for something that they believed would be the triumph of the Hind religion. But he said, “Nothing could prepare me for what was about to follow.”
Singh said, “All the photographers were there in front of the mosque. Suddenly there was a surge of people who wanted to enter the mosque. You could make out they would storm the mosque.”
He said that while all that was taking place, he was beaten up with the stick, his cameras were broken and he was left injured on the ground.
Something similar happened to Pramod Pramanik, then photojournalist with India Today. Singh said, “You could understand that it was just looting. Our cameras, watches and purses – everything was taken away.”
T Narayan of The Times of India also remembered being attacked but he did not stop taking pictures. He said, “Fortunately I found a group of Tamilians. Being a Tamilian myself, I huddled with them to save my skin. But I did not stop taking photographs.”