After 17 years and expense of Rs. 8 Crore DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM (DECEMBER 02, 2009)

Liberahan Panel - II

After 17 years and expense of Rs. 8 Crore

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam on the Liberhan Commission report, government’s stance on it, and what could be done now.

Think for a while what is possible in 17 years. A country can rise from the ashes, like Japan and Germany did after the World War-II. Or, backward countries can surge ahead to emerge as economic powerhouses, like the South east Asian countries did between the late 60s and mid-80s, or like China did in mid-80s and continues to do now. On an individual level, a child that has joined class 1 would be an engineer and employed, ready for marriage in those 17 long years.

Now let us think for a while what could have been done with the Rs. 8 crore of public money spent by Liberahan Commission. Suppose it takes Rs. 5 lakh to build a two-room primary school building in a village, we could have built 160 primary school buildings in the countryside. If it was spent on making safe drinking water available to a hundred villages, the funds would have sufficed.

Instead, we got the Liberahan Commission report at the same cost. And, yes, we also got a 13-page sarkari document called Memorandum of Action Taken as a bonus. So let us be content (for now, at least) and see what it all adds up to.

The Memorandum of Action Taken on the Report of the Liberhan Ayodhya Commission of Enquiry is a depressing document. It does not show any official inclination to bring the conspirators of Babri Masjid demolition and the ensuing massacre of Muslims to justice.

This eyewash of an official document would have been comical if it was not tragic. See some of the “actions taken”. Against No. 1.1 and 1.2 of recommendations: on the former the government says, “Noted”, and on the latter, “Agreed”.

On the No. 1.3, it says. “Accepted”, before going on to add, “One of the measures contemplated is Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill”.

This same point is made by the government on a couple of other recommendations as well, while the fact remains that the Bill will further empower a corrupt and communalised police force to victimise the victims.

The alleged actions have been taken on issues under categories, (1) General (2) Civil Services (3) Riot Control (4) Intelligence Agencies (5) Centre-State Relations (6) Religious and Cultural Sites (7) The Press or Media.

Although the Memorandum of Action Taken is largely proforma and cursory, there is still some hope that things can improve if the government is serious about improvements in public life. One recommendation is that the misuse of religion, religious places and religious agenda by a political party should be brought to the Elections Commission’s notice for action and possible disqualification. However, no such action was ever taken against the people fighting election in the name of Ram temple and doing hate politics. It is important to note that the EC under TN Seshan had categorically said it did not have powers to disqualify any party.

The government has cited examples of cases in UP courts against the accused. But the victims of killings in Ayodhya have not got justice, nor have their kin been compensated. There is no mention of those forgotten people. The police say the victims’ kin did not lodge FIRs. Hence nothing can be done about it. The fact is that the survivors were hiding from murderous goonda mobs and the police were seen protecting the goondas rather than the victims. No sane person would risk going to the police stations at such a time.

The tone and tenor of the Memo of Action Taken suggests that the UPA government is not going to confront the Sangh bully. The rising stature of law-breakers has dwarfed law and humiliated the spirit of the Constitution. This is an abnormal situation and must be rectified quickly.

Sangh organisations found to have conspired to destroy the Babri Masjid and unleash nationwide killings must be banned. BJP, which was part of the conspiratorial team, is a political party. Hence, instead of banning it, the EC should confiscate its election symbol till it begins to respect the law of the land.

The over five dozen Sangh leaders identified by the Commission for their participation in criminal activities on December 6 and for hatching the well-thought out conspiracy must be booked for criminal conspiracy, mass murder, spreading anti-Muslim hysteria, destruction of a national heritage (Babri Masjid was a UNESCO World Heritage site also) and demolition of 25 mosques and mazars in Ayodhya besides damage to other property on December 6, 1992.

Their prosecution under Nuremberg Principles is more important than any other action. If the country allows them to go scott free, it will have no moral right to prosecute other terrorists and criminals. Leaving them unpunished will encourage repetition of such crimes in future. g

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