M A I N   N E W S

Advani, Joshi, Kalyan, Uma indicted
Liberhan panel criticises Bajrang Dal, VHP, Shiv Sena
A Tribune Exclusive by Naveen S Garewal

MS Liberhan, chairman of the Liberhan Commission, which probed the 1992 demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya, submits report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as Home Minister P Chidambaram looks on at the PM’s residence in New Delhi on Tuesday.
MS Liberhan, chairman of the Liberhan Commission, which probed the 1992 demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya, submits report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as Home Minister P Chidambaram looks on at the PM’s residence in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI

CHANDIGARH: The Liberhan Commission has severely indicted BJP leaders LK Advani, MM Joshi, then UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh and other leaders of the Sangh Parivar for the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. The report has also come down very heavily on other leaders of the BJP, RSS, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Shiv Sena for “actively” or “passively” supporting the demolition.

Others held responsible for the demolition include Uma Bharti, KS Sudarshan, Vinay Katiyar and Ashok Singhal.

These senior leaders of the Sangh Parivar were fully aware of the intention of ‘kar sewaks’ to demolish the disputed structure, but preferred to feign ignorance of the same during the hearings.

Govt in no hurry to table report

Home Minister P Chidambaram has indicated that the government was in no hurry to table the report in Parliament. He said the voluminous report would be examined in his ministry threadbare and an action taken report on it prepared subsequently. The government apparently does not want that the debate on the Railways Budget and the General Budget should get derailed over other issues.

Former Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh and Madras high courts Manmohan Singh Liberhan, who headed the commission, submitted the report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday in the presence of Home Minister P Chidambaram. The Liberhan Commission has been the longest ever commission of inquiry that took 17 years to complete its job. During the inquiry it got 48 extensions.

The report has clearly spelt out that the bringing down of the structure was pre-planned and senior BJP leadership was not only aware about it, but also camped at Faizabad (about 10 km from Ayodhya) to monitor the “action”.

Justice Liberhan refused to divulge details. He, however, said: “I have done my job. It is now for the government to decide what it wants to do with the report. I will not like to confirm or deny any suggestion at this juncture and you are free to draw your own conclusion. Since this is a privileged document, I cannot reveal either the findings or the conclusion arrived at by the commission”.

Key Findings

n Mobilisation of kar sewaks was organised and pre-planned
n Crores of rupees collected for making demolition successful
n RSS main force behind Ram Janam Bhoomi, but movement picked up after BJP joined
n Demolition was carried out by a specially trained group of kar sewaks
n The three-domed structure was pulled down from below and not from the top
n Kalyan Singh, his ministers and handpicked bureaucrats provided complete support for demolition
n The Uttar Pradesh Government misled the Centre and the Supreme Court on ground situation
n Failed Central Government intelligence gathering also responsible
n Media, especially photo journalists, attacked to destroy evidence

The commission has clearly found then Chief Minster of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh and other state BJP leaders guilty of lapses in protecting the monument. The commission has also held the bureaucracy and other wings of the government guilty of conniving with the political executive to demolish the ancient structure.

The Liberhan Commission report, which runs into 1,000-odd pages in four volumes, has gone into the historical background of the dispute, tracing the sequence of events leading up to the demolition of the Babri mosque. It has also gone into ideological questions, besides commenting on the role of the civil service, the police as well as the media.

The delay is said to be due to the orders that the various political leaders had obtained from the Allahabad and other high courts staying the summons issued to them by the commission. Sources reveal that some of these orders are still operative and the commission was even directed not to draw any adverse inference because of the reluctance of the summoned witnesses to appear before the commission.

The commission was set up with in days of the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 and its mandate was to inquire into the circumstances leading to the demolition of Babri Mosque. It was originally to submit its report by March 16, 1993.

During 400-odd sittings, the commission recorded the statements of senior BJP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP leaders including LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh.

The mandate of the commission also included finding out the role played by Kalyan Singh, members of his council and other functionaries of the government. It is learnt that the commission has held the then UP government guilty of failing to protect the monument that led to nationwide communal riots.

The commission is also learnt to have found that the police set-up was manipulated to ensure no obstacle to those who had planned to bring down of the structure.




I’ll let my report speak for me: Liberhan

Retired Chief Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan met the prime minister earlier today to personally hand over the report of the Liberhan Ayodhya commission of inquiry, the one-man panel set up to look into the circumstances of and fix responsibility for the Babri Masjid’s demolition in 1992. In an exclusive interview Naveen S Garewal, a senior journalist of The Tribune, spoke to him to seek some insights into the report. Excerpts:

NSG: Have you submitted the final report?

CJMSL: Yes, I have handed over the report personally to the PM today.

NSG: Has the Liberhan commission’s term come to an end?

CJMSL: I submitted the report on the last day of my extended tenure. The commission’s work is now over.

NSG: What are your findings - were you able to identify any person or group responsible for bringing down the structure?

CJMSL: I cannot say anything about the contents of my report. I would not like to violate Parliament’s privilege by divulging any details at this stage.

NSG: Was the structure’s demolition preplanned?

CJMSL: I am unable to comment on this, but will only say the findings in my report are fully substantiated by the tens of thousands of pages of evidence that was recorded before me.

NSG: What happens to the report now?

CJMSL: The report has been handed over to the PM as well as the home minister and it’s now for them to lay it before Parliament whenever they deem it appropriate and as per law.

NSG: Why did it take 48 extensions for the commission to complete its proceedings?

CJMSL: The delay was caused in no small part by the individuals who were issued summon notices by the commission. They managed to procure stay orders from various high courts. It was also mandatory to give a complete hearing to all those individuals and parties who had any bearing on the subject matter of the inquiry or whose conduct was under scrutiny.

I was also unfortunate to face some problems internally within the commission, which cost me some more time. However, in order to record, read, assimilate and analyse more than 10,000 pages of testimony and evidence I had to necessarily take time. I can understand that from the layman’s point of time the report may seem much delayed, but I’m sure once the report is made available in the public domain my honour will be vindicated.

NSG: What was your mandate and how far have you been able to achieve that?

CJMSL: I was asked to conduct an inquiry into a definite matter of public importance, namely, the destruction of the Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid structure at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. There were five definite questions that were referred to me, which I’ve tried to answer fully in my report.

NSG: Why have you not responded to media reports that have been surfacing now and then saying various things about the commission’s functioning?

CJMSL: A judge or a bearer of trust of Parliament and the people must speak not through his public words, but only through his judgments or reports. My concern was to discharge the duty entrusted to me by Parliament. I’m not oblivious to the attacks that have been levelled against me, at times vicious personal attacks by people whom I had thought I could trust. I’ll not stoop to their level by washing dirty linen in public.

NSG: The commission is said to be the longest and most expensive commission ever. Will your findings be of any use in the future?

CJMSL: It is my hope that for the sake of the people and of this great nation as well as for the sake of peaceful and cordial relations between all citizens of India, no such or similar catastrophic incident ever takes place. I’ve done my best to analyse what happened and led to the incidents of December 1992. I’ve also given my recommendations on what I perceive to be the root of the problem. It’s now for Parliament and the people of India to use or reject my recommendations.

NSG: When did you finalise the report and when was it submitted?

CJMSL: I was ready to submit the report on March 30 but propriety demanded that, in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, I delay it.

NSG: Do you believe the country was or is still facing any threat from communal forces

CJMSL: The threat exists, but given the hopes and aspirations of the people I’m confident the spirit and ethos of this great country of mine shall triumph.

NSG: When is the report likely to be tabled in Parliament?

CJMSL: Ask the home minister. That is the prerogative of the prime minister and his government.

NSG: How long is the report?

CJMSL: The report is long enough, in my opinion, to do justice to the questions that were referred to me. I can’t comment beyond that at this stage.

NSG: What aspects have you covered?

CJMSL: The five issues that were referred to me have been fully answered to the best of my ability and conscience. The issues also necessitated discussion and findings on some ancillary issues. You will have to read the report once it’s made available to the public for more details.

NSG: How many witnesses did you examine?

CJMSL: One hundred witnesses were examined during the course of the inquiry. Some of those who were summoned obtained stay orders from courts and didn’t appear. But thankfully some of the key witnesses appeared voluntarily even though they had stay orders in their favour.

NSG: Who are the prominent politicians who deposed before the commission?

CJMSL: All those who appeared before me and who had anything of substance to state were prominent from my perspective. From your perspective Advani, Narasimha Rao, Murli Manohar Joshi, Mark Tully, Uma Bharti, KS Sudershan, VP Singh and Kalyan Singh appeared before me.

NSG: Did you find any prominent leader guilty?

CJMSL: My lips are sealed. I’ll let my report speak for me.

NSG: What kind of an impact will the report have on the country’s political scenario?

CJMSL: That depends on you, the sentinels of democracy. You’re the ones who will decide whether the report deserves to be commended or condemned.

NSG: Did the commission find any evidence of a "foreign hand" in the structure’s demolition?

CJMSL: No comment




Minority panel doubts report’s utility
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 30
Questioning the credibility of the Justice Liberhan Commission that took nearly two decades to conclude its findings on the Babri Masjid demolition, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) said today that the utility of the report would have to be evaluated in the light of delays.

“We, within the commission and the government, will have to see how useful the recommendations of the report are. After all, this commission has broken all the records in the world by endlessly advancing the submission of report,” NCM chairperson Mohd Shafi Qureishi said.

Highly critical of the commission that got 47 extensions, Qureishi said it was very unfortunate that the report took such a long time.

“It is quite clear that the commission has not handled the matter properly. Add to that the change of governments at the state and central level. Justice was just not done,” Qureishi said, blaming political expediency and inertia on part of the commission for the inexplicable delays in submission of the report.

The commission will write to the Home Ministry tomorrow to seek a copy of the report, which it will study independently, considering its implications for the Muslim minority.

The panel is concerned that the report, given the long time it took, may not stand the test of law and time. Interestingly, a source in the Congress also sounded relieved that the report had finally come. “At last, we have been liberated of the Liberhan Commission,” he said.



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