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Published in the 16-31 March 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Vajpayee exhorted kar sevaks to demolish Babri Masjid

By M. Mazharul Haque 

The Milli Gazette Online

New Delhi: A video CD showing former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee exhorting kar sevaks gathered at Ayodhya to demolish the Babri Masjid has put him in trouble, with Muslim organisations and the Congress Party demanding his trial for his alleged role in the demolition of the mosque. 

Aslam Bhure, a petitioner in the Babri Masjid demolition case, moved an application before Liberhan Commission, probing the sequence of events leading to the demolition of Babri Masjid, on February 24 and demanded to summon Vajpayee to the commission stating that he was party to the conspiracy to demolish the mosque. But the commission did not take congnisance of the application after the counsel for BJP chief LK Advani and other senior BJP leaders opposed the application terming it as "politically motivated". 

Bhure quoted recent media reports based on audio-visual presentations containing Vajpayee’s speech, a day before the demolition, "I don’t know what will happen there (Ayodhya) tomorrow.” 

The Babri Masjid Action Committee (BAMC) convenor Zafaryab Jilani said on February 20 that the committee would take up the matter with the high court bench in which it has challenged the decision of Rae Bareli court to drop the charges against BJP president LK Advani.

Jilani said that from the CD it was clear that Vajpayee was a co-conspirator and since he has not denied the contents of the CD, the case against him becomes stronger.

He added that BMAC would take All India Muslim Personal Law Board members into confidence before moving against Vajpayee. The BMAC has also the support of the Sunni Central Waqf Board, one of the plaintiffs in the Ram Janmabhoom-Babri Masjid title suit.

After BMAC another Muslim organisation followed suit. The All India Muslim Majis Mushawart president Syed Shahabuddin said here on February 23 that Vajpayee be considered an accused in the demolition of the mosque and urged the Liberhan Commission to summon him before it finalises its report.

The contents of the speech made by Vajpayee at Lucknow leave no one in doubt that he knew about the demolition plan, said Mr Shahabuddin.

Those who were said to be having a hand in the demolition of the mosque as BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, VHP leader Ashok Singhal and Acharya Giriraj Kishore and the PM late Narasimha Rao had been called before the commission so the same yardstick should be applied to Vajpayee, he added.

The Congress targetted Vajpayee on February 19 alleging that the CD established beyond doubt that he had full knowledge of December 6, 1992 events. "It is an equivalent of smoking gun. It is direct hard evidence and certainly it should be looked into at the highest levels with a sense of urgency", said the party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi here while talking to media and demanded "comprehensive inquiry" into the "transparent, clear and obvious evidence" available on the CD.

He demanded an explanation from the top BJP leadership on the Vajpayee’s December 5, 1992 speech available on the CD. 

Singhvi also demanded that the CBI in its criminal revision petition and the courts where cases relating to the Babri Masjid are pending " use this material and examine it in detail".

"The BJP and its leadership — Vajpayee, LK Advani and others — owe an explanation to the nation to clear the air of injured innocence and ignorance, he said adding that the saffron party would adopt the technology of "shooting the messenger" in the case as they had done in Tehelka and Judeo tape cases. Singhvi accused the BJP and its leadership of playing divisive politics.

The CD which was submitted to the Liberhan Commission a few months back resurfaced in Bihar during electioneering. As per the details of speeches recorded in the CD, which have been published in one of the latest editions of Hindi news magazine Outlook, Vajpayee during a speech in Lucknow on December 5, 1992 had said that he wanted to go to Ayodhya but was asked to return to Delhi. Without referring to the mosque, Vajpayee reportedly also said that "nobody can sit on sharp stones while singing songs. The earth will have to be levelled and made suitable for sitting."

In his reaction to the Outlook story, Vajpayee accepted in a separate interview to it that he had made the speech but said the tone of his address was in lighter vein and not provocative and that he had no inkling that some people would pull down the mosque. He added that he had not referred to the mosque in his speech and had only talked about levelling the ground.

BJP president LK Advani had also said in Lucknow on the same day that the over one lakh kar sevaks assembled in Ayodhya had not violated any court order and that if "sacrifice has to made to fulfil the resolve, we will do it. If government has to be sacrificed, it will be done but we will not give up the conduct of discharging our responsibility.” «

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