This story was published on LocalWire on Nov 10, 2019, after the Ayodhya judgement by the Supreme Court.
Today, on the occasion of the Bhoomi Pujan of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir, it is being reproduced for our readers’ knowledge.
He was a 19-year-old then.
Three decades down memory lane, Sangram Mohapatra, a Karsevak who had taken active part in Ram Janmabhoomi movement in 1989, reminisces the turbulent days elated over the Apex court verdict.
The scar of the bullet wound that Mohapatra sustained at Ayodhya, is still intact, reminding him of lakhs of karsevaks’ sacrifice as the Supreme Court accorded green signal for the temple construction.
‘As a teenager, it was a mission. I am happy the mission is now going to be accomplished,’ said Mohapatra, working as a senior insurance executive.
‘I was then a student of Ravenshaw College and one of the Karsevaks from Odisha who had made their way to Ayodhya after much trials and tribulation,’ Mohapatra added.
‘A group of 400 young karsevaks boarded the train from Cuttack.
Our train journey to Mughal Sarai in Uttar Pradesh was a test of endurance.
Security was tight and we were frisked at every station as the train made its way to UP.
By the time we reached Mughal Sarai, our group was reduced drastically to 30-40 with others being rounded up by police.’
He reminisced the ardous journey from Mughal Sarai, where he boarded an oil tanker to travel to Varanasi.
He said the hundreds of local karsevaks who joined them there on their way to Ayodhya, advised them to trek along the rail tracks to escape the police.
‘We walked along the tracks for almost 48 hours. Food was no problem.
Along the route, local people provided us with food and water.
It was almost a 60-kilometre- walk. But with youthful exuberance, we got the better of fatigue and exhaustion to reach the Saryu river bridge, the entry point to Ayodhya,’ Mohapatra remembered.
‘Curfew was already clamped on. There was tight security and Ayodhya seemed like an army cantonment.
The groups were split into two to three people for the final journey to Ayodhya.
We were guided to trek to Hanumam Garhi where Lal Krishna Advani and other Janmaboomi leaders addressed the Karsevaks,’ said Mohapatra who took a bullet in his abdomen even before reaching Hanuman Garhi.