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'Country led to brink of communal discord'

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Liberhan Commission indicts BJP brass, RSS; calls for reforms in selection process of bureaucrats.

In his report on the Babri Masjid demolition, Justice M S Liberhan didn't recommend any punitive action, although he held 68 people culpable for "leading the country to the brink of communal discord".

Instead, he has asked the central government to bring sweeping reforms in various areas, like the selection process of bureaucrats, media regulations, statutory power to National Integration Council and special law for misuse of religion.

The BJP, however, slammed Justice Liberhan for his many recommendations, including expediting the legal cases related to the Ayodhya incident in different courts of the country.

"He took 17 years to submit this report. He had completed taking evidence five years ago. It took five years just to compile those evidences and produce the report. And look, the man is talking about expediting legal cases," BJP's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, told Business Standard.

The central government also indicated that fresh cases may not be filed against anyone as there are ongoing cases in various courts related to the demolition of Babri Masjid. The report will be discussed in both Houses of Parliament on December 1.

While the Centre did not reject any of the recommendations, the Action Taken Report (ATR) of the government, too, does not promise punitive actions against these 68 people. No one out of this list of 68, which includes former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has been singled out by the government.

The home ministry's ATR also mentioned today that it is working on the long-pending Bill to check communal violence. The Bill was a part of the first UPA government's commitments but it didn't see the light of the day.

In its set of recommendations, the Liberhan Commission asked the central government to ensure political leaders, ministers or holders of Constitutional offices are barred from simultaneously holding positions in religious bodies. It also called for a special law for punishment for misusing religion to acquire political power.

The commission also asked the government to review the recruitment process of civil servants. "The root cause of the problem may possibly lie in the very process used to recruit these officers. The profession of governance cannot admit candidates whose merit is not of proven providence," it remarked.

The government's ATR said these recommendations will be communicated to the UPSC which is already examining changes in the recruitment process.

In his report, Liberhan said ex-RSS chief Sudarshan, Uma Bharti, Govindacharya, Kalyan Singh and S S Vaghela had "complete knowledge of the events as they were scripted". About Lal Krishna Advani, Vajpayee and Murli Manohar Joshi, the report said they "could not have defied the diktat of the RSS" and "it cannot be assumed even for a moment that Advani, Vajpayee or Joshi didn't know the designs of the Sangh Parivar".

Coming down heavily on the RSS, it termed the organisation as the "author of the movement behind Ayodhya".

Vajpayee, Advani and others have been held culpable for "leading the country to the brink of communal discord".

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First Published: Wed, November 25 2009. 01:34 IST
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