Karsevaks from Madhya Pradesh who had participated in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in 1990s on Saturday expressed happiness over the supreme court verdict that paved way for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The apex court in a historic verdict on Saturday backed the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the Hindu holy town.
Mandsaur-based Ashutosh Navaal (48) recalled that he had gone to Ayodhya in 1990 and again in 1992 when the movement was at its peak.
"I had to walk for nearly 200 kms to reach the Saryu river bridge to reach Ayodhya," he said while welcoming the verdict.
Navaal recalled how he, along with former minister Jagdish Devda and others, hid inside drainages and a pond to hoodwink police.
"A rickshaw puller named Bhola had pity and took us to his village and fed us," he reminisced.
Reacting to the verdict, Hoshangabad-based karsevak Ashok Purohit (66) said he now hopes that a grand Ram temple would come up in Ayodhya in his lifetime.
Purohit had taken part in karseva when the Ram Janambhoomi movement was at its peak in 1992.
"I had gone to Ayodhya and seen the disputed structure from inside. It looks like a temple and the supreme court's verdict has proved this," he said.
Senior lawyer Prafulla Yajurwedi (56) distributed sweets in Mandsaur court after the verdict was announced.
He recalled how he and others were detained by police and loged in a stadium when they tried to enter Ayodhya in 1992.
"We were later dropped in a village from where we walked 20-25 kms to reach Lucknow," he said.
Old memories are also etched in the mind of Sunil Bansal (55) who had managed to reach the disputed structure in Ayodhya, which was later demolished by karsewaks on December 6, 1992.
"We went to Ayodhya in a group of 30-40 karsevaks from Mandsaur. We erected wooden poles at the chabutra at the site," he said and praised BJP patriarch L K Advani for "awakening" people on the issue.
Chattarpur's Sanjay Bisria (56) had to run for his life after the demolition of the disputed structure, as they were chased by armed forces deployed by the then government at the spot.
"In 1990s, we were unable to reach Ayodhya due to tight security. We were caught by the UP Police who put us up in a college, but we still managed to reach Ayodhya. Our dream is fulfilled now," Bisaria said while hailing the SC verdict.