Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Pioneer > Liberties Liberhan took

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    • Chandan Mitra
    • Interestingly, I never got any summons from the Commission although it questioned 1,500 witnesses and virtually every journalist who was present in the Ram Mandir/Babri Masjid complex that day. In its report, the Commission narrates at length the alleged manhandling of Ruchira Gupta who was reporting for Business India those days. It reproduces without verification her (patently false) claim that she was manhandled by kar sewaks and her clothes torn. Had the Commission summoned me I would have testified under oath that nothing of the kind happened. She accompanied me, despite my pleas to the contrary, when I decided to visit the structure under destruction. In fact, she was saved by an assistant to Pramod Mahajan who pushed her out of the way because some kar sewaks got agitated by her remarks and demanded to know who she was, doubting her claim to be a kar sewak despite the saffron bandana she wore to pretend being a member of the demolition squad.

      I was not remotely associated with the BJP those days and my reports in HT were factual and non-commentative, unlike those of my Leftist compatriots. Those two reports are still widely referred to by Western researchers into the demolition and its aftermath. Yet, the Commission never thought it fit to call me for evidence. But then, I am in august company. Justice Liberhan who liberally savages Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his report, never called him to testify either. After the leak of the document, Liberhan even denied on camera that Vajpayee had been pilloried. I can excuse the retired judge. If anybody takes 17 years to compile a litany of half-truths and untruths, memory can well play truant. Unless, of course, the report’s authorship itself is in some doubt!

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