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Basu and Deshpande appear before Liberhan

After nine long years since demolition, there are still a number of new ‘facts’ to be told and retold about Babri. New faces are taking center-stage. Former West Bengal chief minister and veteran CPIM leader Jyoti Basu, who had claimed earlier that he has two audio cassettes on the Babri Masjid demolition, deposed before the Justice Liberhan Commission in the Capital on 29 January. He told the commission that 'there was no other way (to prevent demolition) than the use of Article 356 of the Constitution. After restoration of peace the government could have been handed over to the BJP.' 

Basu as per his promise handed over two audio cassettes to the commission. These cassettes contained the speech of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh. Basu said while deposing the commission that,' Going by the apprehension that the Babri Masjid was likely to be attacked, the Centre should have declared a state emergency.' When asked what steps he would have taken to prevent the demolition in such a situation Basu said,' In fact Harkishan Singh Surjeet and I, during the national integration council meeting on 23 November 1992 had told the then prime minister PV Narsimha Rao that Article 356 could be used even though we were against declaration of emergency in a state.' He added that the absence of BJP leaders from the national integration meeting said all what was in their minds.

When the court asked the former West Bengal chief minister who could further be examined by the commission probably next month, as to what was the response of the former prime minister PV Narsimha Rao, who was at the helm at that time, Basu quoted him as saying,' How can I disbelieve a chief minister (Kalyan Singh), who has promised that there was no danger to the structure'. Basu also made a reference to Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and told his response to the demolition. He quoted him as saying that,' It was an accident and not organized. 'I had told him about kalyan Singh's speech. He kept quite then and now he is talking it being an expression of national sentiment' Basu added. Basu added that when the former prime minister Narsimha Rao assured him that he will do everything to save the mosque I felt satisfied as I thought that he might be getting intelligence reports on the issue. Basu may be asked to appear again before the commission in March either on 15-16 March or 30-31 march as per his convenience.

Meanwhile Nirmala Deshpande, who could not appear before the Liberhan Commission on 31 January, made it this time. She appeared before the commission on 8 February and made startling revelations about the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992.

Deshpande, whose earlier revelations were twisted by saffron broadsheets, said that the demolition was a well- planned conspiracy and was executed by experts who executed it on the behest of the BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal, RSS and Shiv Sena. Deshpande had gone to Ayodhya, alongwith a few of her supporters to save the mosque from being demolished refuted that there was any explosion as claimed by saffronites. She said that "I did not hear any explosion when the dome fell down.’ She identified organizations like BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal, RSS and Shiv Sena as those who were inciting people for demolition. She also said that though she could not see the executers who were operating behind the mosque, but heard when Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharati were asked to deliver speeches. She disclosed that far from appealing to the demolishers to come down in order to spare the mosque, Advani and company were telling the karsevaks to come down in order to save themselves from the falling debries.

The septuagenarian Gandhian came down heavily on the district administration. ‘Our colleagues who were standing there were asked by the policemen to pick up hammers and sticks and pull down the mosque’ she revealed. She felt that many district officials were working in favour of the Hindutva forces. Those who did not subscribe to their ideology were under pressure, she observed.

Nirmala Deshpande also added that the face of communalism she witnessed in Ayodhaya on that fateful day was very shameful and added that ‘I thought that Gandhiji was shot dead once again.

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