NATIONAL

Kalyan Singh says he was deceived

LONDON JULY 14. The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh, has alleged that he was "duped" by top BJP and RSS leaders into giving a potentially false affidavit before the Supreme Court pledging to protect the Babri Masjid even as they were "conspiring" to pull it down.

He named the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, the Human Resource Development Minister, Murli Manohar Joshi, and the RSS chief, K.S. Sudarshan, as among the "conspirators" and claimed that throughout the build-up to the demolition of the mosque on December 6, 1992, they kept him in the "dark" about their intentions. Other top Hindutva figures who were part of a "collective conspiracy", he alleged, included the then RSS chief, Rajinder Singh (Rajju Bhaiyya), and the two VHP leaders, Ashok Singhal and Giriraj Kishore.

"I had trusted all of them, and they made me submit an affidavit before the Supreme Court, that the structure would be protected, which did not happen...," Mr Singh told the BBC adding that he was prepared to appear before the Liberhan Commission which is inquiring into the demolition of the Ayodhya mosque.

"I was kept in the dark about what they were going to do on the 6th of December. Two VHP leaders — the late Vijaye Raje Scindia and now the Union Minister of State for Home, Swami Chinmayanand — had given to me in writing that no harm would be done to the structure. On that basis I had submitted an affidavit before the Supreme Court. Therefore, I was deceived by these people," he claimed.

He said he evaded previous summons from the Liberhan Commission because his deposition would have affected a court case pending against him, "but today I am saying that I will tell the names in the Rae Bareli court, and if the Liberhan Commission calls me I have no objection in going".

Answering questions from BBC listeners around the world in its special Hindi programme, "Aap Ki Baat", Mr Singh repeatedly called Mr. Vajpayee, Mr. Advani and Dr. Joshi "conspirators" and dared them to accept the "moral responsibility" for the demolition of the Babri Masjid, as he had done by resigning as Chief Minister and then serving a day's jail sentence for contempt of court in not having been able to protect the mosque.

"They should have the courage to come out with the truth and accept the moral responsibility and say `yes' this has happened. But look at them they are everyday issuing clarifications in their defence, giving contradictory statements. Look at L.K. Advani, I have myself read four types of different statements that he has made before the Liberhan Commission," he said. He wanted Mr. Advani to explain "why did he distribute sugar there when the structure was pulled down" and at the Bangalore session of the BJP in 1993 "why did Advani call 6th December 1992 as `Liberation Day' in his presidential address, and why did Mr. Vajpayee endorse this address".

Mr. Singh maintained that he was used as a "pawn" by the BJP to "exploit" the masjid issue for electoral gains, and accused the BJP leadership of converting the concept of Hindutva into a platform for "communalism" and "fascism" in order to garner votes.

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