Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ayodhya mosque report blames India's BJP opposition

Demonstrators on the Babri mosque
The mosque's destruction was one of India's most bitterly contested events

An official report in India has blamed leading Hindu nationalist politicians for playing a role in the 1992 demolition of a mosque in Ayodhya.

The report clearly implicates more than 60 people - including the most senior members of the main opposition party, the BJP - in the mosque's destruction.

The mosque was brought down by a Hindu mob and some 2,000 people died in riots across India after its demolition.

BJP politicians have denied any wrongdoing in the incident.

They reacted angrily when the report was submitted to parliament, shouting slogans and running into the well of the upper house, or Rajya Sabha.

Among those the report blamed were former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and current parliamentary leader LK Advani.

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The long-delayed report, which runs to more than 1,000 pages, rejected an argument by Hindu nationalists that the mosque's destruction was a spontaneous eruption by activists.

It said the demolition "was carried out with great painstaking preparation and pre-planning" and that 68 people party to the decision to destroy the mosque had "violated the trust of the people".

"There can be no greater betrayal or crime in a democracy and this commission has no hesitation in condemning these pseudo-moderates for their sins of omission," it said.

'Rape of democracy'

The report also says the local administration and the local police supported a premeditated conspiracy, and that senior political figures did not act to stop the violence.

Authorities "could have at least attempted to stem the tide of communalism and the rape of democracy. But they chose to remain deaf, dumb and blind throughout," the report said.

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

The report called for "exemplary punishment" for those misusing religion to acquire political power.

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).

BJP leaders accused the Congress party-led government of releasing "selective leaks" of the report on Monday to distract attention from the economy and corruption.

Mr Advani dismissed the leaked conclusions of the report, calling them "false and ridiculous".

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

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

The destruction of the mosque was one of the most divisive events in Indian history and led to Hindu-Muslim riots across the country.

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

BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said on Tuesday the party had not changed its continuing demand for a Hindu temple to be built on the site of the destroyed mosque.

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