In the 1,029-page report, a number of BJP leaders are labelled “pseudo-moderates” and are accused of complicity with Hindu extremists. They include top leaders like Lalchand Kishen Advani, now the leader of the opposition in India’s Lok Sabha (Lower House) in New Delhi; Murli Manohar Joshi, a former Development minister; and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, prime minister between 1998 and 2004.
No one ever doubted BJP involvement in the destruction of the Babri Mosque. On the day of the assault, the Union government in New Delhi dissolved four BJP-led State governments and detained for a few days party leaders as well as those of the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP). It also banned radical Hindu and Muslim groups.
The Liberhan report has caused a political storm because it blames BJP leaders. “It cannot be assumed even for a moment that L K Advani, A B Vajpayee or M M Joshi did not know the designs of Sangh Parivar,” the report said. “These leaders cannot [. . .] be given the benefit of doubt and exonerated of culpability.”
The events that overtook the Babri Mosque illustrate the extremist nature of Hindu nationalism. Built in 1528 in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Rām, the incarnation of the god Vishnu according to Hindu tradition, the mosque remained a bone of contention between Muslims and Hindus for centuries, the latter claiming that the building stood on the site of an ancient Hindu temple.
In the more recent past, Ayodhya became a focal point for an anti-Muslim campaign led by the BHP starting in 1984. After various attempts to demolish the building and replace it with a Hindu temple, Sangh Parivar militants succeeded in 1992.
Summoned on 6 December to start the symbolic reconstruction of the temple, people attacked the mosque bringing down the building’s three domes in less than three hours, all this under the eyes of police and paramilitary units, which did not lift a finger to stop what was going on.
On top of the rubbles of the Babri, a small Hindu was built Mosque overnight.