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UP govt failed to protect Babri masjid: Centre
June 20, 2003 06:13 IST
The Centre on Thursday accused the then Kalyan Singh-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh of failing to deploy sufficient forces to protect the disputed structure at Ayodhya.
"In such a situation (on December 6, 1992), which all of us agree was a sensitive situation, the state government failed in its duty to deploy the stationed central forces," the Centre's counsel Lala Ram Gupta told the Liberhan Commission probing the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
Maintaining that no contingency plan had been prepared, either by the state government or the Centre, to prevent the frenzied crowd and karsevaks from reaching the disputed structure, he said, "In my view, (on this point) the state government failed in its constitutional duty, and so did the Centre."
Both should have prepared a contingency plan to protect the disputed structure without resorting to firing, the counsel said adding that even if firing was unavoidable, a contingency plan should have been drawn to avoid a massacre and bloodbath.
Gupta said the Centre was of the view that any use of force, like firing, would lead to serious consequences.
Even when the karsevaks had climbed the dome of the disputed structure, the chief minister, after consultation with his top officials, agreed to the use of all types of force except firing, Gupta said.
Paramilitary force could have reached the disputed site only by resorting to firing, which was not allowed by the district administration, he said adding it could only reach up to the Saket Degree College because of the large-scale obstruction on the way.
The Centre's counsel agreed with the Commission that the then Union home secretary Madhav Godbole had prepared a contingency plan with respect to the imposition of President's Rule in the state under Article 356, but "there was no contingency plan for the security of the structure."
On the assault on mediapersons, Gupta said the Commission cannot go into the issue as its terms of reference only assume that there was an attack on mediapersons.
He said the Sarkaria Report on the assault on mediapersons did not come under the ambit of this Commission as the report was that of a special committee set up by the Press Council of India.
Gupta's contention was that under the PCI Act, 1978, the PCI had no jurisdiction to set up special sub-committee to probe the incident.
"The statement made by the witnesses, whether under oath or otherwise, could not be considered by the Commission of inquiry," Gupta said.
Meanwhile, Kalyan Singh on Thursday night disagreed with the Centre's contention that there was no contingency plan to tackle the eventuality of demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya.
He told Aaj Tak channel that his stand would be borne out by official records. Adequate security measures had been put in place although nobody had imagined that the structure would be pulled down.
Singh said the Centre was trying to pass the blame on his government in order to 'save senior BJP leaders'.
The Ayodhya Issue: The Complete Coverage