Today's Paper

Kalyan Singh justified masjid demolition

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh, had asserted before the Liberhan Commission that the demolition of the Babri Masjid “was an act of God and he had no regrets, no repentance, no sorrow and grief.”

He said: “The act of demolition was the self-generated public resentment and outburst of the crushed feelings of the masses for the centuries. Historians will write that the devotees of Lord Ram, devotees of the nation had demolished the symbol of slavery and disgrace, though this demolition was not expected. It was purely sudden and totally unplanned.”

Mr. Singh said he was not present at the spot on December 6, 1992. He had no role either directly or indirectly in the demolition. The Supreme Court had permitted a peaceful symbolic “kar seva” and he had no reasons to believe a section of the crowd might turn violent and cause damage to the structure. Further, there was no intelligence information from the Centre that “there was any apprehension of demolition of the disputed structure.” At the State government level, all effective measures were taken to ensure that there was no threat to the disputed structure and also that the commitments given by him to the various courts and authorities were duly complied with.

The former Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, had maintained that the Centre, in 1992, sent over 20,000 paramilitary troops to Ayodhya, and persuaded Mr. Kalyan Singh to protect the disputed structure (Babri Masjid).

Rao had said, “the Centre, after the then Union Home Minister S.B. Chavan visited the place and pointed out several inadequacies in the security arrangements, sent additional forces to assist the State government.”

He said: “Kalyan Singh had assured me that these inadequacies would be rectified, and I got any number of commitments from him but he failed to fulfil the commitments.”

The former Prime Minister, who was questioned, said: “Essentially when the Centre points out certain inadequacies, it is for the State government to get them rectified. Until the demolition, my impression continuously was that the rectification was not complete. I have no hesitation in saying that the State government failed to comply with the instructions given by the Centre from time to time.”

BJP leader L.K. Advani had named three factors that prompted the party to launch a movement in support of the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. He said the Rajiv Gandhi government’s decision to allow “shilanyas” and open the doors of the Ram temple and its volte-face over the Supreme Court verdict in the Shah Bano case were the crucial factors that forced the BJP to get involved in the Ayodhya movement.

Mr. Advani said: “If the Shah Bano episode had not taken place; if the government had not actively participated or facilitated the ‘shilanyas’ or opened the Ram temple gates, may be this would not have weighed with us when we were thinking of the Ayodhya resolution in 1989.” For the BJP it was a political movement unlike the VHP, which considered it a religious one.

The former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, blamed the defiant attitude of the BJP, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal for the Ayodhya imbroglio and faulted them for disregarding the judiciary and creating a psyche among the cadres that somehow a Ram temple should be constructed at the disputed site.

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