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Report Blaming Hindu Nationalist Leaders for Role in 1992 Destruction of Mosque Rocks Indian Parliament

Anjana Pasricha | New Delhi 23 November 2009

In India, a leaked government report which has blamed senior Hindu nationalist leaders for the demolition of an ancient mosque 17 years ago, has rocked parliament, and angered the opposition.

Both houses of parliament erupted in furor Monday after a newspaper published excerpts of a government report on the demolition of a 16th century mosque in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya in 1992 by a Hindu mob.

The report by the Liberhan commission, which investigated the demolition, has not yet been made public.

The Indian Express newspaper says that the commission has concluded that the build-up to the events that culminated in the Hindu mob tearing down the mosque was "meticulously planned."

The newspaper says the Liberhan commission has slammed top leaders of the opposition Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party for their role in the destruction of the mosque, which sparked some of the worst Hindu-Muslim clashes seen in the country. Those named include former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and current leader of the opposition, Lal Krishna Advani.

Angry BJP lawmakers shouted in parliament that they will not tolerate the insult to their leaders, and accused the government of deliberately leaking the report.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram did not say whether the newspaper report was authentic, but defended the government.

"This report, there is only one copy, it is in my custody, no one has spoken to any journalist," he said.

Opposition leader Lal Krishna Advani said if the leaked report is correct, its conclusions are false and ridiculous. He denied that there said there was any conspiracy or planning behind the destruction of the mosque.

BJP leaders have always maintained that the demolition was spontaneous, led by Hindus campaigning to build a temple on the site of the mosque, which they believe is the birthplace of their God Rama.

The Liberhan Commission completed the report in July after nearly 17 years. The government had said it will place it in parliament during the current session.

BJP leaders alleged the government leaked the report to deflect attention from issues such as rising food prices for which it is under fire.

The issue of the demolition of the mosque -- for which the BJP has often faced severe criticism -- has surfaced at a time when it has been weakened by a series of electoral setbacks and infighting in the party.

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