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‘Law’ surprise for Babri panel

New Delhi, July 9: The Centre has sprung a surprise before the Liberhan Commission, saying the BJP wanted a “legislation” to hand over the land in Ayodhya to Hindus for constructing a Ram temple.

In a written submission filed on July 1 through counsel Lala Ram Gupta, the Centre said the BJP was in favour of such a legislation.

This is the first time that the Centre has said this, and that too before the judicial commission probing the sequence of events leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992.

But the contention that the BJP favours a legislation comes with the rider of “a negotiated settlement”.

According to the affidavit filed before the commission, the “Ramjanmabhoomi should be handed over to the Hindus through a negotiated settlement or else through a legislation”.

The written submission said senior leaders L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi have sounded coalition members on “this approach (settlement or legislation)”.

It said the BJP had asked the National Democratic Alliance government to facilitate negotiations between Hindus and Muslims for a “grand reconciliation”, but Opposition leaders had “misrepresented the facts both inside and outside Parliament”.

The submission added: “The Ayodhya issue is being used to create a divide and strain the long relations between these two communities and is being distorted by false propaganda and malicious activities by all Opposition parties and Muslim leaders.”

It said Advani’s 1990 rath yatra was aimed at creating an “awakening” among the people about the “national importance” of constructing a Ram temple. It added that Joshi joined the “movement” in the “interests of national unity”.

The commission resumes hearings tomorrow, with the Uttar Pradesh advocate-general scheduled to present the state government’s point of view.

The panel will also decide on the application of Mohammad Aslam, alias Bhure, who is seeking to summon Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Advani and Kalyan Singh in the wake of the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s recent allegation that the Prime Minister and his deputy had a role in the demolition.

The Centre has said in its submission that “Advani and Joshi, and for that matter the BJP, had no role to play in the arrangement of kar seva and kar sevaks”.

It said the kar seva was organised by the “sants and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad”.

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