A Surprised Justice Liberhan Says Some BJP Leaders Accepted Blame for Babri Before Him

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Justice MS Liberhan (retd) led the inquiry into the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

The enquiry commission report, submitted by the former Supreme Court judge in 2009, showed the role of senior RSS and BJP leaders, including Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti in the demolition of the mosque.

Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Even as a special CBI court acquitted all the Hindutva leaders like L K Advani and Uma Bharti in the Babri Masjid demolition case, Justice M S Liberhan said on Wednesday that he still believed that the demolition of the mosque was a meticulously planned event.

The Indian Express quoted Justice Liberhan as saying that BJP leader Uma Bharti categorically took responsibility of the act and that it was not an unseen force that demolished the mosque, but human beings did it.

Justice Liberhan headed a commission set up by the government to find who and how the mosque was demolished. The report submitted in 2009 showed the role of senior RSS and BJP leaders, including Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti in the demolition of the mosque.

The Commission pointed out how kar sevaks were mobilised under a well-orchestrated and planned conspiracy. The report named over 60 people, including senior BJP leaders Advani, Joshi, Bharti and A B Vajpayee, RSS and VHP leaders, bureaucrats, as “culpable” for “leading the country to the brink of communal discord”.

He, however, refrained from commenting on the verdict of the CBI court.

“My findings were correct, right, honest, and free from fear or any other bias,” Justice Liberhan said according to Express. “For posterity, it is a report that will provide an honest account of what took place and how. It will be part of history.”

“All of them, Advani, Vajpayee, appeared before me, and what I found, I presented in my report, but they can’t be a witness against themselves… Some of them took responsibility for the demolition. Uma Bharti categorically claimed responsibility… now, if the judge says she is not responsible, what can I do… From the evidence presented before me and the accounts of witnesses, not just me, anybody could have reasonably concluded that it was a premeditated action,” he said.

“Some may have had a pious intent, but for politicians, it was one of the most important means to generate votes in their favour,” he said, adding that it was a watershed moment for the BJP.

He slammed the then UP government for its failure to prevent the demolition of the mosque as no preventive steps were taken to forestall the demolition, or prevent the spread of communal hatred.

The Commission had established the presence of cadres of the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP, BJP and Shiv Sena, along with their leaders at the spot at the time of the demolition. “They either actively or passively supported the demolition. The other protagonists of the temple construction movement, including preachers, sadhus and sants, administrative and police officers, media and kar sevaks were also present. In the process, all acts were directed for or to acquire political power and thereby achieve the politically desirable results,” it said.

The report reprimanded the Kalyan Singh government in UP for “intentionally” allowing “the protagonists of the movement and the kar sevaks to run the administration and to govern Ayodhya and Faizabad”.

“Kalyan Singh… repeatedly refused to utilise the services of paramilitary forces till after the demolition was complete. He had full knowledge of the events and their implications, as they unfolded, and his reluctance to take any substantive action, for that reason is inexplicable,” it said.

The report said the demolition of the mosque was a “pitiable and shameful case where the Chief Minister and his associates, within and outside the government, within and outside his party, within and outside the Parivar, actively hindered and obstructed the small pockets of sanity and common sense which might have prevented the demolition of the disputed structures or the ensuing riots.”

“It is too obvious that the administration could not, and did not, put any restraints on the kar sevaks or on the kar seva, nor regulated it, out of fear of reprisals from the government.”

The report said the Rath Yatra preceding the demolition was aimed to “mobilise people to construct the temple at the disputed site”. “It was the leadership of the BJP, a national political party, which came forward to mobilise the people on the Ayodhya temple issue, along with Mathura and Kashi. It challenged constitutional secularism by calling it pseudo-secularism.”

It termed the appeals of the leaders like Advani to kar sevaks to come down from the disputed site as  “feeble requests”.

 “One could have reasonably perceived that the demolition of the disputed structure was not possible from the top of the domes. No request was made to the kar sevaks not to enter the garba griha or not to demolish from inside the domes. This selective act of the leaders itself speaks of the hidden intentions of one and all being to accomplish the demolition of the disputed structure,” it said.

The Commission was slammed by the government of Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao for its failure. “The Central government had been day-dreaming that the state government would go against its election manifesto,” it said.

Champat Rai, now general secretary of the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust for construction of the temple, had “declared that guerrilla shaily (strategy) would be adopted on 6 December, 1992. This declaration was published and not contradicted or countered by any leader of the movement or political party.”

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