The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Sangh Parivar came under severe criticism in the Lok Sabha on Monday for their role in the Babri Masjid demolition at Ayodhya in 1992.
The two-day debate on the report of the Liberhan Commission, which probed the sequences of events that led to the demolition, and the action taken report of the government began amidst heated arguments between the ruling and Opposition members, with the Communist Party of India’s Gurudas Dasgupta demanding a critical analysis of what led to the pulling down of the structure and the failure of the then government at the Centre to protect it.
“The need of the hour is to protect the secular nature of the country for which all secular forces — with the Congress having the larger responsibility of leading — should unite for the purpose,” he said while suggesting political isolation of the parties that promoted “fundamentalism and intolerance.”
Accusing the BJP of “forcing its fundamentalist will on the people when even a majority were opposed to their ideology,” Mr. Dasgupta said: “Why did the political system fail and what are the inherent weaknesses that led [the] nation to shame?” Criticising the Liberhan report for not being comprehensive, he said it did not mention the Centre’s role.
Defending his party, BJP president Rajnath Singh described the report as “totally baseless, prejudiced and a deliberate attempt at character assassination of some persons.”
“Building a Ram temple is not just religious justice, but also national justice. The BJP reaffirms its commitment to build a Ram temple at the same site. When the BJP, which was part of the NDA, was in power, it could not deliver on its promise despite trying its best.”
Amidst repeated disruptions, Mr. Singh said pulling down the mosque was no pre-planned conspiracy but a spontaneous action resulting from public anger. He claimed that the report was a “bundle of grave errors” and a mere political statement to suit a party.
In her opening remarks, Speaker Meira Kumar appealed to the members to be cautious and discuss the issue constructively since Ayodhya was a politically and emotionally sensitive topic. She said the debate should take place “without hurting the sentiments” of anyone in the Lok Sabha.
The Congress’ Jagadambika Pal — whose name figures in the Commission report as a kar sevak — had a tough time convincing the Opposition that he opposed the action and was even arrested on December 4.
Mr. Pal targeted the then Chief Minister Kalyan Singh who, he said, failed to honour the assurances given to the Supreme Court to prevent damage to the disputed building.
Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh said the Liberhan report was incomplete as a number of important facts were concealed. He alleged that the BJP and the Congress were “hand in glove” at the time of the demolition.