Yet another book has levelled an allegation that P V Narasimha Rao
had connived at the demolition of Babri Masjid, claiming that the
late Prime Minister went on to sit at a puja when the kar sevaks
began pulling the structure down and rose only when it was over.
The charge relating to the demolition on Dec 6,1992 has been made
by eminent journalist Kuldip Nayar in his soon-to-be released
autobiography Beyond the Lines being brought out by Roli Books.
"My information was that Rao had connived at the demolition. He
sat at puja when the kar sevaks began pulling down the mosque and
rose only when the last stone had been removed"
"Madhu Limaye (late socialist leader) later told me that during
the puja, Rao's aide whispered in his ears that the masjid had
been demolished. Within seconds, the puja was over", he said in a
chapter on 'Narasimha Rao's Government' in the book.
P V Ranga Rao, son of the late Prime Minister, however strongly
dismissed the claim as "unbelievable and untenable".
"It is unbelievable and untenable...There is no way father would
have done so. He was in anguish when the Babri structure was
demolished, for he loved Muslims for years and was their ardent
supporter. He told us many times that it should not have
happened", Rao said reacting to the reported claim of the late
socialist leader Madhu Limaye.
Regretting that an eminent journalist like Nayar could write such
things, Ranga Rao said "vested interests" were trying to spew
venom at his late father, who cannot defend himself.
Nayar said that when there were riots in the wake of the
demolition, Rao invited some senior journalists to his house.
"He was at pains to explain to us how his government had made
every arrangement to stop the demolition. Rao said he was betrayed
by the U P Chief Minister Kalyan Singh".
When asked how a small temple could have been erected overnight at
the site when the Centre was at the helm of affairs having
dismissed the Kalyan Singh government, Rao said he had attempted
to send a contingent of CRPF by plane to Lucknow but they were
unable to land because of bad weather.
Besides, Nayar said Rao did not explain the "inaction" of Central
forces in Ayodhya, but assured him that the temple would not be
there "for long".
"Rao's government will always be held responsible for the
demolition of the Babri Masjid. The curious thing was that he was
conscious of such an eventuality but did virtually nothing to
avert it", Nayar said.
Once earlier Rao invited senior journalists to acquaint them with
the efforts his government was making to reach a settlement. When
Nayar asked him which stage they had reached, Rao replied
"somewhere," but "there was no serious edge to his voice".
Nayar recalled that soon after, he witnessed the gathering of the
storm with thousands of kar sevaks descending upon Ayodhya and the
RSS and the BJP leaders converging on the city.
Kalyan Singh, who was heading the BJP government in U P, made
statements which indicated that he had no intention of protecting
the Masjid, although the Supreme Court had ordered maintenance of
status quo and his government had given an undertaking that it
would do so.
The climax came when the Masjid was demolished to the last stone
on that fateful day by thousands of kar sevaks egged on by the BJP
and RSS leadership. "It was daylight murder of secularism," Nayar
He also says that the Congress cauldron was boiling not because of
the Masjid demolition, but because of internal conflicts. Sonia
Gandhi never liked Narasimha Rao, particularly when he assumed
leadership of both the Congress party and its government, Nayar
She did not want to join issue with him, preferring to remain
aloof from party matters. Even so, the infighting with the
Congress and its shrinking space in the country bothered her.
Many Congress leaders from the Centre and the states met her
individually to appeal to her to lead the party. To them, she
seemed the only person who represented the consensus in the party.
Her gravest concern was that communal forces representing the BJP
were claiming the political space. "The only occasion I spoke to
her, she came across as a committed secularist, who firmly
believed that pluralism was the bedrock of Indian society".
Nayar says he could gauge that she was coming around to the view
that she would have to join politics if she wanted to fight
against communalism and that the only instrument she had for this
was the Congress.