The controversial letter written by the Uttar Pradesh Home Secretary asking senior police officers and the district magistrate of Faizabad to attend a meeting on October 14 to discuss “construction of the Ram Mandir on the lines of the reconstruction of the Somnath temple,” has added to the Akhilesh Yadav government’s woes.
The controversy has created fresh problems for the 17-month-old government, which is reeling under the after-effects of the Muzaffarnagar communal violence. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is also holding the Home portfolio.
According to the letter, the October 14 meeting was to be held in Lucknow. It was addressed to DG, Police, ADG (Law and Order), ADG (Intelligence), IG (Law and Order), IG (Railways), IG, Lucknow Zone and DM and SSP of Faizabad. Directing the officers to attend a meeting on Monday, the subject of the letter reportedly said: “Meeting in connection with the enactment of a law in Parliament for construction of a temple at Shri Ram janmabhumi on the lines of the reconstruction of the Somnath Mandir.”
The government went in an instant damage control mode after the October 9 letter written by Home Secretary Sarvesh Kumar Mishra was “leaked” to a section of the press with Principal Secretary (Home) R.M. Srivastava ordering an enquiry and promising action against the guilty.
At a press conference on Saturday, Mr. Srivastava attributed the “faux pas” to a error by a junior clerk and painstakingly emphasised that “neither a government order has been issued to this effect, nor was it a policy decision.” He admitted that laparvahi (carelessness) was committed while drafting the letter.
Expressing regret for the “mistake,” the Home department official said the error by the concerned personnel was made on two counts. One, intelligence inputs, which were not to be divulged were brought in the public realm through the letter. Secondly, a video conferencing, and not a meeting was to be held on October 14 with the police and Faizabad officials regarding the arrangements for the proposed ‘Sankalp Divas’ of the VHP on October 18, Mr. Srivastava said.
The Principal Secretary added that correct language was not used to draft the October 9 letter. Mr. Srivastava said the intelligence inputs were related to the secret information about the agenda of VHP’s ‘Sankalp Divas,’ ostensibly related to the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya. “The secret information in the form of intelligence inputs should not have been mentioned in the notice,” he said.
However, Mr. Srivastava was unable to give a convincing reply when asked how did the words “to frame a law in parliament” were mentioned in the subject of the October 9 letter.
Not ruling out the possibility of action being taken against Mr. Sarvesh Mishra, who was also present, Mr. Srivastava said he could also be held accountable in his capacity as the Principal Secretary.