Demanding that the Liberhan report be scrapped, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday said it had the potential of “whipping up” communal frenzy in the country. Its deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, called for evolving consensus among stakeholders to resolve the contentious Ayodhya issue.
Speaking during a debate on the Commission report, Ms. Swaraj also said BJP leaders were ready for any punishment, “inside and outside Parliament,” for the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
Describing the report as a document drafted by “an opportunist” individual with political intentions, Ms. Swaraj said if Justice Liberhan believed that the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, should be held responsible for the demolition only because he headed a party, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, too, was responsible since he was Finance Minister in the Narasimha Rao-led Congress government at the Centre in 1992 (at the time of the destruction).
There was ample indication that the retired Supreme Court judge had not written the report, she said, calling upon the government to reveal who wrote it. This itself was a matter that needed to be investigated.
Further, Ms. Swaraj said, the day the report was tabled in the House, Justice Liberhan said he had not indicted Mr. Vajpayee, but two days later he said that as BJP leader, Mr. Vajpayee must take responsibility for the demolition, just as a “managing director” should for wrongdoings in his company.
“This clearly shows that he [Justice Liberhan] had not read his own report, which mentions Mr. Vajpayee 22 times.”
The BJP leader said kar sevaks had dismantled the disputed structure on December 6, 1992, but denied the charge of conspiracy.
She said the Central Bureau of Investigation, intelligence agencies and Muslim organisations failed to prove conclusively before the Commission the conspiracy charge, as stated in the report itself.
Amidst repeated disruptions from the Congress and other political parties, Ms. Swaraj said the report was “ill-founded” and “not based on evidence.”
Highly critical of the Congress role in the entire episode, Basudeb Acharia of the CPI(M) said it was that party government’s order to open the locks the disputed place of worship to appease the minority community that sowed the seeds of communal tension. This was aggravated by the BJP’s rath yatra, which led to bloodshed and communal riots.
Accusing the Congress of “compromising” with the communal forces, Mr. Acharia said it had joined hands with them to pull down a secular government led by V.P. Singh in 1989.
Amidst strong protests from Congress MPs, Mr. Acharia alleged that the then Prime Minister, Narasimha Rao, did not make any effort to protect the structure.
How could Mr. Rao rely on the assurances given by the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh government rather than going by the Union Home Ministry report that recommended taking over of the disputed structure and imposing President’s rule in the State? Mr. Acharia quoted the report of the then Home Secretary, Madhav Godbole, which was approved only after the masjid was pulled down and along with it “the secular fabric of the country."