Liberhan’s Lapses

 The Justice Liberhan Commission Report has ignited a fierce polemical debate among politicians and media. That this load of garbage should engage so much attention is symptomatic of the sick and retarded condition of India’s elite. No wonder the UP Governor at the time of the demolition, Mr Satynarayan Reddy, has rubbished the Report. The terms of reference for the Liberhan Commission of Inquiry were to find out “the sequence of events leading, and all facts and circumstances relating, to the occurrences at Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex on December 6, 1992”. Law Minister Moily has described the Report as fact-finding. After 17 years has the Commission unearthed a single fact that was not known earlier? The long Report is full of opinions, assumptions and recommendations. Where are the facts? 

Prosecution must rely on facts to make it evidence. Every child knew that the Sangh Parivar was fomenting communal tensions. The RSS domination of the BJP was known. The mobilization of karsevaks to reach the Masjid was open. The preplanning was obvious from the equipment and tools taken by a section of the demonstrators to break down the structure. Did it require 17 years to reiterate at great length these acknowledged truths? 

Uma Bharathi has stated that she is willing to face prosecution for the constructive responsibility of demolishing the Masjid. She admitted to being elated over the demolition but said she had no foreknowledge of it. Some other Sangh Parivar leaders are claiming the same. In what manner has the Report unearthed evidence to refute these claims? RSS Chief of that time, K Sudharshan, has claimed there was no preplanning and the demonstrators went out of control. Undoubtedly those demonstrators who carried the tools for destruction had preplanned the operation. Did the Commission follow every lead to get at the truth? Did the Commission follow media reports and other developments to attempt getting at the truth? It does not seem to have been attempted. Instead Justice Liberhan has resorted to pompous, generalized pontification to fill his long Report. Here are a few leads that appeared in the press earlier which seem to have been ignored by the Commission. 

In September 1997 the late KR Malkani, Vice President of BJP, stated that ISI agents had infiltrated the karsevaks to carry out the demolition. Malkani said this five years after the demolition. What led him to say it? Did the Commission summon Malkani and question him about it? 

After the Masjid was demolished a section of the demonstrators spread across town committing arson and murder. Over 20 Muslims were killed. This was a continuum of the demolition.

While there has been loud brouhaha about the demolition and the conspiracy behind it, why have these killings been quietly buried?

The police rounded up 35 suspects responsible for the rioting. They were all released for lack of evidence. Why was a TADA case not registered? Why was the investigation not continued? Did the Commission summon the police officials and question them about leads that might have been available from the rioting to identify the perpetrators? 

The largest contingent of karsevaks who demolished the structure was led by Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, then BJP MP from Gonda. The police stationed in the area at that time can confirm this. Singh had admitted in court during the hearing of a TADA case that he had been acquainted with Dawood Ibrahim. Currently he is an MP representing the Samajhwadi Party. Did the Commission summon him for questioning? Did the Commission at all attempt to identify the leaders who actually participated in the demolition and question them? Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is not even included among the 68 individuals indicted by the Commission! 

Whoever might have masterminded the conspiracy to demolish the Masjid the Sangh Parivar cannot evade blame and responsibility for what happened. But we still do not know who directly were involved in the conspiracy and the preplanning of the demolition. Who were most guilty for the act? Who could be prosecuted in a meaningful way? 

The Justice Liberhan Commission after 48 extensions was a mountainous enterprise. But this mountain after 17 years of labor produced a stillborn and stinking mouse. Sorry Mr Judge, but you ask to be judged. 


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

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