Gurgaon: VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who played a key role in the mass campaign that led to the razing of the Babri mosque in 1992, died in Gurgaon on Tuesday, doctors said.
Singhal (89), who was admitted to Medanta Medicity hospital on Saturday last with complaints of acute breathlessness and other problems, died at 2.24 PM following cardio-vascular failure and septicaemia, VHP International President Pravin Togadia said.
Singhal breathed his last at 2.20 p.m. at Medanta-The Medicity hospital, doctor Yatin Mehta said.
"Ashok Singhal is dead," the doctor said. "He passed away at 2.20 despite our best efforts."
A bachelor and an RSS pracharak all his life, Singhal, adopted an aggressive style in the 'kar sewak' campaign in the build up to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December, 1992.
A metallurgy engineering graduate from Banaras Hindu University, he pitchforked the organisation in the Ayodhya Ram temple movement and sought to internationalise it by recruiting supporters and organising branches world wide. The overseas supporters contributed immensely to the VHP campaign.
Singh was in the Intensive Care Unit under treatment in the hospital after he was diagnosed with right lower Lobe Pneumonia. He was on ventilator from November 14 evening. A team of specialists comprising Critical Care, Respiratory, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Neurology and Nephrology had attended on Singh, the hospital had said on Monday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of Singh. "The demise of Ashok Singhalji is a deep personal loss. He was an institution in himself, whose life was centred around serving the nation," he tweeted. He said he was always fortunate to receive Ashokji's blessings and guidance. "My condolences to his family and countless supporters," he said.
The Prime Minister noted that Ashok Singhal was the force behind several noble deeds and social work, which benefited the poor. "He is an inspiration for generations,"
Singhal's body will be brought to the RSS office in Jandewalan in Central Delhi in the night. It will be kept there till 3 PM tomorrow for public to pay homage after which it will be cremated in the Nigambodh ghat here, Togadia said.
Born in Agra on October 2 in 1926, Singhal has a Bachelor's degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Banaras Hindu University Institute of Technology in 1950. Having been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since 1942, he became a full-time pracharak after his graduation. He worked in various locations around Uttar Pradesh, becoming a prant pracharak for Delhi and Haryana.
In 1980, he was deputed to VHP and became its Joint General Secretary. In 1984, he became its General Secretary and later elevated to the post of its working President, a role in which he continued till December 2011.