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Published in the 16-31 Dec 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

SPECIAL REPORT

Kalyan's U-turn

By PM Damodaran

Lucknow: The deposition by the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr. Kalyan Singh before the Liberhan Commission, probing into the demolition of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, is full of contradictions and one has the feeling that he was hiding the truth. Mr. Singh’s hesitation in deposing before the Commission all these years only strengthens this belief.

In an affidavit submitted during his deposition before the Commission during the first week of December, the former chief minister described the demolition of the Babri mosque as an ‘act of God’ for which he has ‘no regret, no repentance, no sorrow and no grief’. But in the same breath, he maintained that the demolition was not expected and it was purely ‘sudden and unplanned.’ Thus apparently he was happy at the demolition though it was not planned! 

After the demolition, Mr. Singh had been maintaining that he had no regrets over the incident. In fact, at a rally in Kolkata on February 2, 1993, hardly a couple of months after the demolition, he had said so. Then a tape containing his speech in Kolkata was handed over to the commission by the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mr. Jyoti Basu. The tape was played before the commission on December 2 as desired by Mr. Singh. The latter had admitted that the voice in the tape was his.

Mr. Singh had to do a lot of explanation in trying to substantiate his statement that the demolition was an ‘act of God’ and not a pre-planned act. He explained at length the contradictions between his political belief, which supported the Ram temple movement and his constitutional duty as the chief minister of the state at the time of demolition, which sought to implement the rule of law. Mr. Singh also justified his order against firing on the gathered Kar Sewaks, who had tried to demolish the mosque structure, on that day in Ayodhya on the ground that he had received inputs from the officials there that the firing could lead to a massacre. The district administration also could not bring the central forces, stationed at a few kilometres from Ayodhya, to check the Kar Sewaks from demolishing the mosque as the latter had blocked the way to the city. 

Regarding his charges made on June 20 last year against the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including the former Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee; the former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani and the former Human Resources Development Minister, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, of being a part of the conspiracy to demolish the structure, the former chief minister remarked that it was ‘made out of anger’! It was made after Mr. Singh was suspended from the BJP and he had floated his own political outfit, which was then an ally of Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. Apparently he has changed his views now after he was re-admitted to the BJP and made its national vice-president. However, how a man of his stature, who was chief minister of a state, can make such serious allegations against such senior leaders, who were at the helm of affairs of the central government at that time, without verifying facts as he claims now? It is time for him to come out clean and state the truth.
In fact Mr. Singh had been refusing to appear before the Commission earlier on the ground that his deposition before it would prejudice his defence in the criminal cases pending against him in the judicial courts. The former chief minister had even moved the Delhi High Court in June this year against the summons issued by the commission but his plea was dismissed by the court thus paving the way for his deposition.
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