The bureaucracy in Uttar Pradesh during the Babri Masjid demolition has come in for severe criticism in the report of the Liberhan Ayodhya Commission of Inquiry. It found that all institutions of governance in the State “abetted in the demolition” and the aftermath to help the Bharatiya Janata Party execute its political agenda.
That the U.P. police and administration remained mute spectators is an oft-repeated observation in the report. “The veering away of the executive and the State administration or the bureaucracy from independent constitutional administration is too obvious to be ignored,” Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan observed.
“By their presence, acts of omission and commission, the State’s highest officers endangered the security of the disputed structure and the safety of their own people. What a travesty of circumstances! The State specifically refused to take the responsibility for implementing the Court’s orders. It also stonewalled the intervention of the Central government by relying on the federal structure of the Constitution,” Mr. Justice Liberhan said while wrapping up a 45-page account of the role played by “The Administration” on that crucial day.
While conceding the difficulties the bureaucracy and the police may have faced in standing up to their political bosses, Mr. Justice Liberhan drew attention to the fact that they were handpicked by the then Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh — who had assumed all powers to transfer officials — because of their political leanings. “The people who mattered in the administration, either knowingly or otherwise, having or had strong views on Hinduism and about the partition of the country and were put on key posts specially.”
No preventive steps
As a result, “no preventive steps were taken to forestall the demolition of the disputed structure nor to prevent or stop the vandalism or the spread of communal hatred and frenzy against the minority community.” And, there were no hurdles in the way of the kar sevaks and others to the disputed structure at any place between Faizabad and Ayodhya.
Not only were RSS workers deployed as organisers at the disputed structure, — “most damningly and demonstratively, the administration even handed over security and discipline of kar sevaks to the organisers” — the government facilitated access by reducing the height of the security wall by placing earth around it.
Further, the Chief Minister took all steps to ensure that no force of any nature was used against the kar sevaks and leaders of the movement. He even issued an order in writing not to open fire on kar sevasks and others in any eventuality, Mr. Justice Liberhan pointed out in his indictment of an administration that “deliberately allowed itself to be sidelined, bypassed, emasculated and rendered irrelevant.”