NEW DELHI: Had he been alive, the Babri case verdict that the demolition was not “pre-planned” would have brought a wry smile to the face of
P V Narasimha Rao
who faced severe criticism for the December 6,1992 event, with some alleging that he was complicit in the mosque’s destruction.
Rao felt the charge keenly and was at pains to argue that he had gone by the
of VHP and the UP government which were also given to the Supreme Court. In his book— “Ayodha 6 December 1992”— Rao marshalled lengthy official communication and records of discussions with VHP leaders and said he had acted in good faith.
In political terms, he and Congress paid a heavy price for the Babri demolition. Both BJP and Congress’s “secular” competitors gained. The allegation that he did “nothing” was seen to be substantiated by the Centre not sending
para military forces
once kar sewaks mounted the domes. The question remains moot, but there was a strong view that use of force would trigger unprecedented violence, not just at Ayodhya but across the country.
Senior political figures who met Rao on the day attest to his being shell-shocked. “He looked as if he had been hit by a bus,” said a leader. There were people milling around in his office, but Rao remained tight-lipped. In a televised address, Rao said the mosque will be rebuilt. Later he said he had not specified where.
Some like former home secretary Madhav
take a less charitable view of events and argue that the demolition could have been prevented. In retrospect, it does seem the decision to allow lakhs of people to gather in proximity of the Masjid was a huge risk. But Rao probably felt the situation could be managed and the saffron brigade will not violate a pledge to the SC. He perhaps failed to see people taking the law into their hands.
Later, his doctor, well known cardiologist K
Reddy, said he gave medication to bring Rao’s racing pulse and BP under control. This is the closest that anyone got to subjecting Rao to a polygraph.