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India parliament uproar over Ayodhya mosque report

Demonstrators on the Babri mosque
Demonstrators tore the mosque down using hammers and their bare hands

India's main opposition BJP has reacted angrily to reports that its leaders are implicated in an inquiry into the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque.

Parliament was in uproar on Monday over the leaked inquiry report which is said to blame senior BJP figures including Atal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani.

The Liberhan commission report was submitted to the government in June but its contents have not been made public.

Some 2,000 people died in riots across India after the mosque was demolished.

The commission was set up to investigate events that led to a Hindu mob tearing down the disputed mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya.

Led by former high court judge MS Liberhan, the inquiry took 17 years to complete its work, at a cost of more than 65m rupees ($1.3m). Details about the commission's findings appeared in the Indian media on Monday.

'Political motive'

ANALYSIS
Geeta Pandey
Geeta Pandey
BBC News, Delhi
It was a day of angry exchanges in parliament. Shouting "shame, shame", opposition lawmakers twice forced the lower house (Lok Sabha) to adjourn.

BJP leader LK Advani waved copies of an Indian newspaper and demanded to know who was behind the leaked report. "I'm surprised, the report is not even before parliament, so how did it get leaked to this newspaper?"

Mr Advani has long denied accusations that he encouraged the rioters - but he was charged in a special court in July 2005 with inciting a mob to attack the mosque.

Once the Liberhan report is published it will be used as evidence, legal experts say.

But the case is far from over - any order passed by the special court will be challenged in the high court and then in the Supreme Court.

"I am stunned. I was shocked to see that the report has been leaked. I want to know who has leaked the report," senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani said in parliament.

"If what is written is correct, the conclusions are false. There was no conspiracy, no planning. I was distressed by the demolition of the mosque."

BJP leaders accused the Congress party-led government of "selective leaks" to distract attention from the economy and corruption - and demanded parliament see the report immediately.

Home Minister P Chidambaram denied his ministry was behind the "unfortunate" leak.

The angry opposition shouted: "No, it's not just unfortunate, it's shameful."

Mr Chidambaram said Justice Liberhan's 900-page report was being translated into Hindi. The report is due to be put before parliament on 22 December, along with an "action taken report" by the government.

The Indian Express newspaper reported the build-up to the demolition of the mosque had been meticulously planned, and said the commission of inquiry had described BJP leaders as "pseudo-moderates".

The report apparently exonerates the Congress prime minister at the time, PV Narasimha Rao, of any responsibility - saying the federal government could not act in the absence of any recommendation from the state governor.

Controversial mosque

The site of the 16th Century Babri Masjid had been a focus for Hindu-Muslim hostility for decades. On 6 December 1992 a mob of Hindu militants tore the mosque down.

LIBERHAN COMMISSION
Set up in December 1992 days after Ayodhya mosque demolition
Led by Justice MS Liberhan, a sitting high court judge
Had about 400 sittings, 48 extensions and lasted almost 17 years
Questioned powerful figures including former prime ministers
Submitted its report to the government in June 2009

Rioters claimed the site had been a temple marking the birthplace of the Hindu God Ram.

The destruction of the mosque was one of the most divisive events in Indian history and led to Hindu-Muslim riots across the country in which more than 2,000 people were killed.

The Liberhan commission was set up within days of the incident.

Mr Advani has long denied accusations that he encouraged the rioters - but he was charged in July 2005 with inciting a mob to attack the mosque.

The special court in the town of Rae Bareilly charged him with "giving provocative speeches leading to demolition of the mosque, creating enmity between Hindus and Muslims and inciting people for riots and public mischief".

Legal experts say once the Liberhan report and the government's "action taken report" are made public, they will be sent to the court to be used as evidence in the case.



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