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What happened to Liberhan Commission

Kalyan Singh once again chose to defy the Justice MS Liberhan Commission. The commission had ordered him to appear before it on 27 July. It was the third such summon to the former chief minister of UP who presided over the demolition of the Babri Mosque violating solemn pledges given to the Supreme Court. Earlier he was asked to appear before the Commission on 19 July, but he did not turn up and his counsel told the commission that he could not be conveyed the summon because he was out of the city. The Commission has also issued a bailable warrant against him. It has observed that he is such an important witness that nothing can be concluded without examining him.

Kalyan Singh is busy passing the buck these days. His most recent revelation is that Prime Minister AB Vajpayee was part of the group which hatched the demolition conspsiracy. Cabinet Secretary Prabhat Kumar has stated before the commission that the decision not to deploy central forces at Ayodhya was entirely Kalyan’s. 

It is not only Kalyan Singh, a host of other accused have chosen not to appear before the Commission on one pretext or the other including BJP stalwarts like LK Advani. 

Liberhan Commission was constituted on 16 December 1992 by an order of the union home ministry following the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6 December. The Commission was expected to submit its report within three months. Seven long years have passed since, but it has not been able even to examine all witnesses and key culprits let alone submit its report.

Notices were sent to 41 people in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition, but only 12 have appeared before it so far. People who have appeared before the commission are either government officials or leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. No minister of the BJP government that was in power in UP at the time has appeared before the commission. Former police commissioner of Faizabad, DB Roy who later became a BJP MP, has never appeared before the commission despite repeated summons. 

The commission thought that Kalyan will appear before it on his own. But his refusal to show up prompted the commission to order him to appear. It said in its order passed on 21 June that ‘Kalyan Singh was such a key witness that it cannot proceed to answer any of the questions referred to it without examining him.’ Significantly it added that Advani will be examined after Kalyan Singh's deposition.

Apparently Kalyan Singh has denied any role whatsoever in Babri Masjid demolition case. Prabhat Kumar the then principal secretary (home) of UP has also tried to distance himself from any role in the Babri Masjid demolition case. All the BJP and VHP stalwarts who sat on the dais in front of the mosque on that fateful day exhorting the kar sewak mobs to demolish ‘the structure’ and shouting ek dhakka aur do, meekly deny any role in the demolition. One stalwart even claimed that the ISI demolished it! Another has claimed that Narasimha Rao did the final job. Most of these paper tigers have secured advance bail orders from pliant legal officers.

The proceedings of the Commission are moving at snail’s pace. The investigations are so slow that it does not seem that it will ever be able to submit its report. It has no power to drag culprits, leave alone bring the guilty to book. This is the state of a commission which is investigating the most sensitive case in modern Indian history.

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