The Liberhan Commission has made it clear that the Ram temple-Babri Masjid dispute cannot be resolved by jurists. In its recommendations, the Commission said: “The disputes among various groupings on the provenance of monuments, temples and other structures have survived to this day and age, and like in the case of the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, are capable of fomenting unnecessary and unwanted trouble and disharmony.”

The question whether a structure was a temple or mosque could be answered only by a scientific study by archaeologists, historians and anthropologists, the Commission said. “No politician, jurist or journalist, learned though they may be, can provide a comprehensive answer to such questions, and any attempt to hijack the issue can only result in the chaotic consequences which resulted in the events of December 6, 1992.”

The government’s Action Taken Report (ATR) simply says “agreed” without elaborating.

The Commission wanted the government to appoint a statutory national commission, composed of acknowledged experts, to delve into the questions of provenance of historical monuments and artefacts, and their determination should be deemed definitive and final.

ASI mandate

On this recommendation, the ATR says: “The mandate of the Archaeological Survey of India is to undertake archaeological studies and preservation of the archaeological heritage of the country under various Acts of Parliament. The ASI’s function is also to explore, excavate, conserve, preserve and protect the monuments and sites of national and international importance. Hence it is not necessary to appoint another national commission, and it would suffice to strengthen the functions of the ASI.”

The Liberhan report said there should be no hesitation in associating the finest historians, anthropologists and archaeologists from within and outside the country with the exercise. These experts should be equipped with the latest and most sophisticated tools in an attempt at not only finally answering the question of the historical legacy of places but also at ensuring that their findings contributed to harmony and peace among communities, castes and regions.

The ATR says: “The ASI will be requested to associate reputed historians, anthropologists and archaeologists both from within the country and outside.”

The Commission said it was inherently unfair, immoral and legally dubious to hold democracy hostage to religious and casteist blackmail. “The separation of state and religion has been debated at great length in every age and has found favour in almost every organised civilised society.”

The ATR says, “Agreed.”

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