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BJP leaders had tried to save mosque: Prasad
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 30
While acquitting its leaders like L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar and others of any responsibility in razing to ground the 16th century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, the BJP hinted it could revive the Ram Mandir movement, if is leaders were penalized.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said here today, “Hindus all over the world want construction of Ram temple and the BJP supports it.” He was reacting to the submission of Liberhan Commission report after 17 years of being set up within days of the masjid demolition.

Prasad said, “We want a Ram temple. There should be a constructive solution.” He insisted that BJP leaders had tried to save the mosque and alleged that they were falsely implicated, adding, “The party has evidence of that.”

The BJP spokesman, however, said the party would come out with “a more structured response after the report is tabled in Parliament along with Action Taken Report. He refused to urge the government to table the report early and said, “It is for the government to decide, We are not in the government.”

Parliament is meeting for its month-long budget session only two days from now and there might be an all round pressure from secular parties, including sections within the Congress to come clean on this contentious issue.

Meanwhile, BJP and other leaders, who were involved in the demolition, some of whom like Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh have left the BJP, seem to be adopting a two-pronged strategy. On the one hand the party has sprung to their defence declaring them “Not Guilty,” and on the other it is hinting at the possibility of making political capital out of it, in the event the government followed it up with any penal action against those named.

Already leading Hindutva light of yesteryears Uma Bharti who was present at the spot then and was said to be actively involved has denied having raised the slogan during the demolition, “Ek Dhakka aur do, Babri Masjid tod do (Give one more push and demolish Babri Masjid).” After 17 years Uma Bharti said, “I never said this. It was Sadhvi Rithambra.”

Bharti, however, said. “Babri report should be published and BJP should come clean over it. I am not apologetic at all, I am willing to be hanged for my role. I want Ram Temple, but I didn’t want the mosque to be destroyed that way,” she added.

As for L.K. Advani he immediately summoned his two trusted lieutenants Arun Jaitely and Sushma Swaraj to his residence and confabulated for long with them. He also held consultations with Ravi Shankar Prasad. All three are legal practitioners.

Joshi of course is away to Nagpur. Sources said he had been summoned by the RSS top brass for some important discussions by the Sangh leaders.

Meanwhile, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh charged the BJP with doublespeak. Naming L.K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Ashok Singhal and Vinay Katiyar, Digvijay Singh said, “They were all present at the time of demolition. They were all rejoicing and shouted slogans ek dhakka aur do (give one more push). The BJP has been the champion of doublespeak.”

Ravi Shankar Prasad took exception to Congress criticism and said, “The report has not been made public yet and the Congress reaction on it is utterly rubbish. We condemn it completely. Even before the report is placed in Parliament, the Congress has begun its conspiracy,” the BJP spokesman alleged.

Privately BJP leaders felt that if the Congress tried to make capital out if it, it could help the BJP revive the Ayodhya issue. While claiming that it is still too early to say anything, a senior BJP leader said, “Seeing the Muslims return to the Congress fold in UP and Bihar, it might try to be proactive and push this with a vengeance. The Congress could even capitalize on it for the forthcoming Maharashtra assembly elections to wean away Muslims from Samajwadi Party,” felt the BJP leader.

“In such a situation, there might be a reaction to it. If Ayodhya comes into focus for even one month or so then it could have its repercussions. If Congress attempts further Muslim consolidation through this, then it will have its own reaction and may benefit us,” felt the BJP leader.





Liberhan: I am independent today

New Delhi, June 30
"I am independent today". This is what Justice (retired) M S Liberhan said today after submitting a report on the 1992 Babri Masjid Demolition to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Refusing to divulge the contents of the report, he said the report was a "privilege" of Parliament and he would not be able to say if he had recommended any penal punishment. "I can't open my mouth. The report can speak when it comes out."

Asked why the Liberhan Commission, which had got 48 extensions, took 17 years to prepare its report, he attributed it to the delay in getting witnesses and the non-cooperative attitude of some people.

To a query if he was satisfied after 17 long years, he said: "It is also part of the report. On personal front, a judge is not supposed to have any feelings... I am a judge." — PTI



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