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We could not prevent demolition: Uma Bharti

By J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI, DEC. 19. The Union Sports Minister, Ms. Uma Bharti, today told the Justice Liberhan Commission of Inquiry that she (and other party leaders) had tried to prevent the demolition of the domes of the disputed structure in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 before its demolition but in vain as she was pushed by the karsevaks. The RSS chief, Mr. K. S. Sudarshan, is expected to depose before the Commission tomorrow.

Continuing her deposition before the Commission, probing the sequence of events leading to the demolition of the structure, Ms. Bharti said senior leaders such as Mr. L. K. Advani, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi and Mr. Ashok Singhal (leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad), made a fervent appeal (from the Ram Katha Manch) to the karsevaks, who had climbed the domes not to harm the disputed structure, but the appeal went unheeded.

The leaders favoured continuing the agitation democratically. They were shocked but in the din caused by the massive crowd, their appeal could not reach the people already atop the dome.

On her part, Ms. Bharti said on the instruction of party leaders, she went to the rear portion of the structure with a loud speaker and appealed to the karsevaks to come down. Some of them shouted ``go to hell, we are not going to listen to you''. The crowd ``picked me up and brought me down from the wall and formed a ring around me and took me almost half a kilometre away from the place''. They warned that she should not come to the spot again. She then went to the Manch and apprised Mr. Advani of what had happened.

``In the evening when the entire structure came down, the State police officer in charge of my security took me to the Janaki Trust Mahal building where I was staying,'' Ms. Bharti said.

At the last hearing, Ms. Bharti had said that while the issue relating to the disputed land could be resolved in court, the one concerning Hindus and Muslims could only be resolved through a dialogue.

* * *

Plea to summon PM

PTI, UNI reports:

An application has been filed before the Liberhans Commission for summoning the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, as a witness following his statement that a temple should be built at the disputed site.

The application has been filed by Mr. Mohammned Aslam, who has filed several petitions relating to the dispute in the Uttar Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court, seeking an explanation from the Prime Minister, as there was a Supreme Court ruling for maintaining status quo at the disputed site.

Sudarshan to depose today

The commission will examine the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief, Mr. K.S. Sudarshan, tomorrow in view of his recent statement that the mosque was brought down by a bomb blast.

Bansi Lal's charge

In Rohtak, the former Haryana Chief Minister, Mr. Bansi Lal, alleged the CBI, under pressure from the then Prime Minister, Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao, had arraigned the Union Ministers, Mr. L.K. Advani, Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi, and Ms. Uma Bharti, in the case.

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