Report on Babri demolition: Liberhan feels relieved; Government tense

By Andalib Akhter,

New Delhi: Even as Retd Justice M S Liberhan is feeling relieved after submitting the much awaited report on the demolition of the Babri Masjid to prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Congress led UPA government at centre is finding it difficult to handle the report.

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In fact the government is apprehensive as how to treat the explosive report at a time when everything was going smoothly for it. At the one hand secular opposition and Muslim groups are pressurizing the government to put the report in the parliament along with action taken report (ATR), the main opposition BJP and its Hindutva brigades would leave no stone unturned to accuse the government of appeasing Muslims.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh being presented the Liberhan Commission Report by Justice M.S. Liberhan, in New Delhi on June 30, 2009. The Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram is also seen. [PIB photo]

Sources in the home ministry say that the government would take very cautious path while going ahead on the report. “The government would not do anything that whip up communal tension in the country” says a government official on the condition of anonymity. He even said that the government would not be able to table the report in the coming session of parliament which begins on July 2. “It is comprehensive report and will take time to study pros and cons of it.”

A group of few officials and some Congress parliamentarians would study the report thoroughly and on the basis of this an action taken report would be prepared. The government would take into account both administrational and political the impact of the report on the society.

Though officially Congress party would say that the report would be tabled at appropriate time, but sources say party is divided on the issue. One section of the party is in no mode to give Advani a new lease of life as he himself dying a political death. Any action against Advani would prove beneficial for him politically. But the other group wants to soothe the hurt feeling of the Muslims by exposing and punishing the perpetrator of the crime.

It is obvious that report could reveal role of BJP’s L K Advani and Bajrang Dal in Babri incidents. Report could also shed light on number of other top BJP leaders.

Meanwhile political analysts are of the view that certain part of the report would be leaked to media to generate debate over the issue.

Political parties have already begun to score points over each other over the report. The Congress said that mere apologies by BJP leaders are not enough. The BJP claimed that Advani has been framed in the Babri case.

BJP President Rajnath Singh denied allegations that BJP leaders had not fully cooperated with the Commission. The former BJP leader Ms Uma Bharati, who was present at Ayodhya on the day of demolition of Babri Mosque, said that she would not apologise to anyone, even if implicated in the report.

Communist Party of India leader D Raja also regretted the delay in the report. “It’s sad that the commission took so much time. The government should now table the report in parliament as soon as possible and tell the people of this country what actions they plan to initiate,” he said.

The Liberhan Commission was one of the costliest Commissions having spent nearly Rs eight crore in the 17 years of the probe. The bulk of the amount was spent on the salaries and perks of the supporting staff.

During the extended proceedings spread over 400 sittings, the Commission recorded the statements of senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh.

The panel had completed hearing the last witness in 2005.

Following is the chronology of events in the Liberhan Commission set up to go into demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992:

16 December 1992: Justice Liberhan Commission was notified to be set up. It is stipulated that the Commission complete the inquiry in six months.

March 1993: Hearings begin.

1 July 2002
1 Jan 2003
30 Jun 2003
11 March 2004
9 Sept 2004
24 March 2005
25 June 2005
30 Sept 2005
12 Dec 2005.

23 March 2006
29 June 2006
2 Jan 2007
4 Apr 2007
3 July 2007
31 Aug 2007
1 Nov 2007
29 February
1 May 2008

31 March 2009 (48th extension)

30 June 2009: Commission submits report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.