Kalyan Singh, Uttar Pradesh’s BJP chief minister during Babri Masjid’s demolition, dies


BJP leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister during whose tenure the historical Babri Masjid was demolished by Hindutva terrorists, has died at the age of 89. He died at Lucknow’s Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences due to sepsis and multi-organ failure.

Kalyan Singh

Several top BJP leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had visited him at the hospital during his treatment.

Reacting to Singh’s death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “I am saddened beyond words. Kalyan Singh Ji…statesman, veteran administrator, grassroots level leader and great human. He leaves behind an indelible contribution towards the development of Uttar Pradesh. Spoke to his son Shri Rajveer Singh and expressed condolences. Om Shanti.”

In his subsequent tweets, he wrote, “Generations to come will remain forever grateful to Kalyan Singh Ji for his contributions towards India’s cultural regeneration. He was firmly rooted in Indian values and took pride in our centuries old traditions.

“Kalyan Singh Ji gave voice to crores of people belonging to the marginalised sections of society. He made numerous efforts towards the empowerment of farmers, youngsters and women.”

Singh was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh on 6 December 1992 when armed Hindutva terrorists brought down the 16th century Babri Masjid. The demolition of Babri Masjid had triggered countrywide pogrom leaving thousands, mostly Muslims, dead.

Singh had refused to apologise for allowing the Babri Masjid’s demolition to take place and not allowing the armed forces to use force against Hindutva terrorists. In one interview to Hindustan Times, Singh had said, “I was told that central forces were on way to the temple town but their movement was halted by kar sewaks outside Saket college. I was asked whether to order firing (on kar sewaks) or not. I denied permission in writing and said in my order, which is still there on the files, that firing would lead to the loss of many lives, chaos and law and order issues across the country.”

Singh became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh once again in 1997 with the support of Mayawati’s BSP. Even though the BSP later withdrew support, he remained the chief minister with the support of a section of the Congress until 1998 when his government was dismissed.

Singh was later appointed as the Governor of Rajasthan after Modi became India’s prime minister in 2014.