I expected a different outcome: Ex-Home Secretary on Babri verdict

Godbole was a Union home secretary when the demolition of the Babri mosque took place in 1992

Pune: Retired bureaucrat Madhav Godbole on Wednesday said he was expecting a “different result” in the Babri mosque demolition case.

Godbole was a Union home secretary when the demolition of the Babri mosque took place in 1992.

A special CBI court in Lucknow on Wednesday acquitted all the 32 accused in the case, including BJP veterans L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, saying there was no conclusive proof against them. The case relates to the razing of the disputed structure in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

Godbole said there could be some difference of opinion over the verdict on the ownership of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in Ayodhya.

But in this (Babri mosque demolition) case, wherein a criminal offense was registered, I thought the court would do proper verification before giving the verdict,” he told PTI.

He added that because of the Supreme Court, the case at least came to this stage.

“As the case was being heard daily, I was expecting a different result, but that decision did not come. This result has come as a surprise to me”

Godbole said

“The trial had been going on for the last several years. Hundreds of witnesses and thousands of documents were examined and now the court is concluding that there was not enough evidence. This is something difficult to accept,” he said.

An appeal should be made in the high court against the verdict and the matter should also be pursued in the Supreme Court.

“I think that public pressure has to be created to ensure that appeal is made in the higher court,” he said.

Godbole said he does not believe that the structure could be demolished within five to six hours.

“I do not believe that such a big structure can be demolished within five to six hours. I don’t believe that just a few thousand people climbed on to the dome (of the mosque), tried to pull it down and it fell due to it. There must have been some preparation before that,” he said.

“I will not say it was a conspiracy, but there must have been some preparation before it…without that preparation, it was not possible”

he added

When asked whether he felt that the foundation of secularism was still strong, he answered in the negative.

“I do not think that the foundation of secularism is still strong. Today no one is ready to speak about it. Forget taking action, the parties which we call secular and were instrumental in preparing the Constitution, are not ready to do anything,” he said.

“What worries me is the intermixing of religion and politics. That is what we are not able to separate. The demands made related to Varanasi and Mathura, all pronouncements that are made time to time regarding Hindu Rashtra, all these are disquieting features,” he said.

“Nobody, not even secular parties, is ready to talk about the separation of religion from politics,” he said.

Godbole added that at least 20 percent population of India belonged to a religious minority.

“The country will not run smoothly if it is said that we will only think about 80 percent population and not bother about 20 percent. It is a symbol of civilization to take along all the people from a different religion, caste, and creed,” he said.

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