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20090701

Congress also responsible for Babri demolition: Mayawati

Lucknow: Asking the central government to make public the Liberhan Commission report, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Tuesday alleged that the Congress was as much responsible as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. "Timely intervention by the Congress, which was ruling at the centre at that time, could have prevented the demolition of the Babri Masjid," Mayawati told reporters here. Even after it received information from various intelligence agencies and other sources that the BJP and its allies were planning to raze the mosque, the Congress preferred to look the other way, she added. "Had the Congress acted on the information provided by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Babri Masjid demolition would not have taken place," Mayawati said. "The Congress should have acted against the BJP, which was ruling Uttar pradesh then. Such an intervention could have prevented the riots and communal clashes that erupted in various parts of the country (after the mosque demolition)," Mayawati claimed. Asking the central government to make public the Liberhan Commission report, submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier in the day, Mayawati said she hoped that the report would also shed light on the involvement of the Congress in the mosque demolition. "The report should be made public as it would be in the interest of transparency," said Mayawati, adding that those indicted by the probe panel should be punished severely. "Now, the entire country will watch the action the central government takes against those involved in the demolition. Now, it is to be seen whether the central government would be able to muster the courage needed to punish the guilty," she said. The panel headed by Justice (retd) M.S. Liberhan was set up in 1992 to investigate the Dec 6, 1992, demolition of the 16th century mosque that led to widespread communal violence. Hindu rightwing groups maintain that the mosque was built on the site where Lord Ram was born. "The commission should not have taken such a long time in its investigation as it results in the wastage of money," Mayawati added.

No regret on Babri Masjid, ready to be hanged: Uma

Bhopal: As the Liberhan Commission probe report on the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was submitted to the government on Tuesday, former Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) leader Uma Bharati said she does not regret the destruction and would be ready to be hanged if found guilty. "I wanted the old structure to be destroyed though not in that way," Uma Bharati, now heading the Bharatiya Janshakti Party after quitting the BJP, told reporters here. Uma Bharati, former central minister and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, is an accused in the demolition of the 16th century mosque. Hindu rightwing groups have maintained that the mosque was built on the site where Lord Ram was born and where a temple to him stood. Uma Bharati said she had no regrets for what happened on Dec 6, 1992, but added that "none of us had planned to demolish the structure". Questioning the timing of the submission of the probe report, she accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of "playing politics", and termed the move as an attempt to appease its "Muslim vote bank".

Those arrested in Lalgarh are not 'outright Maoists'

Kolkata: Conceding that none of the 22 villagers arrested by security forces during the Lalgarh operation were "outright Maoists", the West Bengal government on Tuesday said all of them will be prosecuted under the Indian Penal Code and not according to the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Declaring that charges framed under the UAPA on two of those arrested from Bankura will be withdrawn, state Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said they would also be tried under the IPC provisions. Sen said the government has asked the Bankura police superintendent to withdraw the charges under the UAPA slapped on Kanchan Murmu and Gopinath Murmu, who were caught while hiding in a bush with the detonating wire of a landmine on Sunday. "They will be prosecuted under sections of IPC. The 20 other villagers, who were arrested, will also be treated accordingly," he told reporters. "None of those arrested so far in Lalgarh are outright Maoists," he said. The top bureaucrat said the state government also did not consider Chhatradhar Mahato, the leader of the Maoist-backed agitating tribal body, People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), as one officially linked to the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Monday told a cabinet core committee that police needed to take permission of the home secretary before arresting anyone under the UAPA. Sen, however, said Maoist leaders Kishanji alias Koteswar Rao, Bikash and Sashadhar Mahato could be tried under the stringent UAPA.

Kalyan Singh, Advani testimonies longest in Liberhan report: lawyer

Chandigarh: The Liberhan Commission report on the Babri Masjid demolition has voluminous and exhaustive testimonies of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, according to a lawyer associated with the panel. The testimony of Kalyan Singh runs into over 400 pages while those of Advani and Joshi run into nearly 200 pages each, Anupam Gupta, a senior lawyer who was associated with the commission as its counsel, said here on Tuesday. The 16th century mosque was demolished on Dec 6, 1992 by radical Hindu groups that believed it was built on the birthplace of Lord Ram. At the time, Kalyan Singh was heading a BJP government in Uttar Pradesh and the Congress' P.V. Narasimha Rao was the prime minister. Kalyan Singh's testimony was recorded over seven months between December 2003 and June 2004. Gupta, who cross-examined top leaders of the BJP and other parties as counsel of the commission between 1999 and 2005, later disassociated himself from it owing to differences with Justice M.S. Liberhan, a former chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh high court. "I am not privy to the contents of the final report. I can only comment after the report is made public. I may write a book on this issue depending on what the findings are," Gupta told media. The Liberhan commission, constituted just 10 days after the demolition, took nearly 17 years to give its final report on the controversy. It submitted its voluminous report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday.