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Is Liberhan Commission really interested in the probe ?
By S Ubaidur Rahman

Liberhan Commission's conduct has come in for sharp criticism from several quarters. The last Commission hearing on 29 January when LK Advani appeared before the Commission on his 11th appearance poses several questions on its conduct.

When the Ram temple bogey is again being taken out on the street as the Assembly elections in UP approach, there are fingers being pointed out towards the Commission that was formed to probe the Babri demolition. The Commission established to probe events leading to the demolition of the ill-fated Babri Masjid has completed eight long years after its formation in December 1992 by the Narsimha Rao government without making any substantial headway into the probe. The commission has probably taken the longest time to probe an incident in the history of the country. And it is still embroiled in a quagmire of its own. It is being alleged from several quarters that the commission instead of making any headway in the events leading to the demolition of the Masjid is giving a platform to leaders like LK Advani, Uma Bharati, MM Joshi, Vinay Katiyar and others accused in the demolition of the ill-fated mosque to air new and newer theories about the Babri Masjid. It is also being said that no headway has been made even so long after the Commission was formed. 

OP Sharma, a senior Supreme Court lawyer who has been fighting the Babri Masjid cases along with his client Aslam Bhure, who cross-examined LK Advani on 29th January when he appeared before the Commission says that the Commission and its lawyer's attitude was questionable. He says that it is amazing that the Commission that was formed to probe the sequence to demolition of the mosque is not interested in quizzing the star witness and the kingpin in the whole demolition drive.

Sharma adds that not only his questions were not allowed to be answered by the home minister, but also the Commission accused him of having some hidden agenda of his own. He adds that when he asked the Commission to admit the questions and overrule it, this too was not allowed by the Liberhan Commission. 

Sharma had asked Advani, that 'you are the home minister of the country. As a home minister what sort of message you are giving to the country that after the installation of the idols it was a de facto temple and after the demolition of the mosque it became de jure temple.

Advani had said on his second deposition before the Liberhan Commission that the temple at the Babri Masjid site was a de facto temple and this has been turned as a de jure temple with the order of the court to maintain status quo at the site. The statement was widely reported and published by the media and all the political parties.

Sharma also asked Advani, that since the question of title suit of the Babri Masjid is pending before the Supreme Court, will he execute the order if the court decides the title suit in Muslims' favour? He also showed Advani documents showing that the Babri Masjid had title over it and that he does not have any title over the mosque land. 

Sharma's first question to Advani was that, 'Mr Advani you have been making statements that there was no mosque but always a temple so there was no demolition and it was temple. He then asked him whether in 1528 Mir Baqi constructed temple as you have been claiming?'

'Is it correct that in 1855 Sirajuddaula, Nawab of Awadh granted you this land, a chabutra, to perform puja? Then there was some dispute and in 1858 Muslims objected to that and then a pujari filed a suit that they should be allowed to construct a temple at Ram Chabutra, which was denied. In 1934 Hindus forcibly tried to occupy the temple and a riot broke out. the British government fined those people who were trying to demolish it and with that fine the mosque was reconstructed' Sharma asked Advani .

Sharma said that none of these questions were allowed to be asked. He says that Commission even refused the questions to be overruled as is the set norm in such cases. He said that the Commission told him that these questions were irrelevant and he should desist from asking any questions of this sort.

He said that the Commission crossed every limit when it said that Mr Sharma you have a hidden agenda and you are pursuing that malicious agenda. When Sharma protested and said that he was walking out of the Commission and that the Commission has questioned his integrity, every lawyer present on the occasion including those of the BJP opposed the Commission and said that no one should question his integrity. 

It was the time when Sharma told the Commission that Mr Liberhan you are not allowing me to question Advani who is a kingpin and star witness and due to his speeches the country was burning. Sharma then went on to say that your intention is hidden and you and your counsel are in league with Advani and the BJP. 

Sharma says that it was amazing to see the Commission probing the events leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid behave in such a way. He says that they have taken eleven days' hearing of Advani and 80 percent questions asked have been irrelevant. Sharma is now considering to file a defamation suit against the Commission. 
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