Justice M. S. Liberhan had submitted his findings to the government on June 30 this year after an inquiry spanning nearly 17 years. The report recommends a law providing for exemplary punishment for misusing religion to acquire political power.
The demolition of the Babri Masjid was planned, systematic, and was the intended outcome of a climate of communal intolerance deliberately created by the Sangh Parivar and its sister affiliates, including the Bharatiya Janata Party.
This is the key finding of the nearly 1000-page-long report of the one-man Liberhan Commission on the catastrophic events of December 6, 1992.
The report places individual culpability for the demolition on a total of 68 persons, the bulk of them drawn from the extended Parivar clan comprising the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and the BJP. The BJP contingent includes not just Hindutva ideologues Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manhohar Joshi, but, surprisingly, also the party’s celebrated moderate face, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan reserves the brunt of his searing commentary for then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, under whose watch the 16th century mosque met its calamitous end: “Kalyan Singh, his Ministers and his hand-picked bureaucrats created man-made and cataclysmic circumstances which could result in no consequences other than the demolition of the disputed structure… They denuded the State of every legal, moral and statutory restraint and wilfully enabled and facilitated the wanton destruction and the ensuing anarchy.”
Justice Liberhan, who took 16 years and six months to compile the meticulously assembled report — comprising 16 chapters including conclusions and recommendations, besides maps, an afterword and a list of witnesses — is unsparing of the BJP’s central leadership, calling the triumvirate of Mr. Vajpayee, Mr. Advani and Mr. Joshi pseudo-moderates who constantly “protested their innocence and denounced the events of December 6.”
However, says the judge, “having analysed many hours of audio and video recordings and having observed the witnesses, [the commission] is unable to hold even these pseudo-moderates innocent of any wrongdoings.”
Party to decisions
Justice Liberhan goes on to say, “It cannot be assumed even for a moment that L.K. Advani, A.B. Vajpayee or M.M. Joshi did not know the designs of the Sangh Parivar. Even though these leaders were deemed and used by the Parivar … to reassure the cautious masses, they were [in fact] party to the decisions which had been taken.”