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Indians should hang their heads in shame over Babri mosque demolition: Mukherjee

NEW DELHI: Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has said that inability to stop the demolition of the Babri mosque was the biggest failure of former Indian prime minister PV Narasimha Rao.

According to Indian media reports in his memoir The Turbulent Years: 1980-96 Mukherjee wrote that the demolition of the Babri Masjid was “an act of absolute perfidy, which should make all Indians hang their heads in shame.”

Narasimha Rao should have entrusted the task of tough negotiations with other political parties to a more senior and seasoned politician familiar with politics in UP,” the report quoted an excerpt from the memoir as saying.

He also talks about how the incident “deeply wounded the sentiments of the Muslim community in India and abroad”

The demolition of the Babri Masjid was an act of absolute perfidy, which should make all Indians hang their heads in shame. It was the senseless, wanton destruction of a religious structure, purely to serve political ends. It deeply wounded the sentiments of the Muslim community in India and abroad. It destroyed India’s image as a tolerant, pluralistic nation where all religions have coexisted in peace and harmony.

In fact, the Foreign Minister of an important Islamic country later pointed out to me that such damage had not been inflicted on a mosque even in Jerusalem, which has seen religious conflicts for centuries, Mukherjee wrote.

The memoir further said that after the demolition of the mosque, Mukherjee — in a private meeting with Rao — asked him, “Was there no one who advised you of the dangers? Did you not understand the global repercussions of any damage to the Babri Masjid? At least now take concrete steps to quell communal tensions and assuage the feelings of Muslims through affirmative action.”

Mukherjee clearly seems to have given a very frank account of incidents which affected him deeply. He also described how Rajiv Gandhi reacted after Indira Gandhi’s assassination and how he eventually became prime minister.

The Indian President wrote that after Rajiv Gandhi received the news that his mother had been shot, he turned to him and asked, “Did she deserve all these bullets?”

Mukherjee also wrote that after it was decided that Rajiv should become PM after Indira’s death, he was the one who told him to take over as PM. Rajiv’s immediate response was: “Do you think I can manage?”

His strong statements on the Babri Masjid demolition comes a little over a week after he had said that the idea of secularism needs to be further strengthened in the minds of young people to build a harmonious society.

The hordes of Hindu zealots attacked historic Babri mosque in Ayodhya on December 06, 1992 leading to massive riots across India resulting in death of more than 2000 Indian Muslims.

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