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Stop regretting Babri, Singhal tells Advani

New Delhi, Nov. 27: Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal has asked L.K. Advani to stop regretting the Babri Masjid’s demolition.

“December 6, 1992, is a day of valour for every Indian. It will be carved in golden letters in India’s history because not since the brave deeds of Shivaji Maharaj has the country seen something like this,” the VHP chief said at a news conference today.

“If Advani stops saying things like this and sounding apologetic and regretful, it is better for him. I will tell him not to say such things,” Singhal, asked to respond to the BJP leader’s views on the Ayodhya episode, added.

Addressing reporters in Islamabad in June 2005, Advani had described the day of the demolition as the “saddest” of his life. In his autobiography My Country My Life, too, he regrets the assault.

Asked when he would convey his advice to Advani, Singhal said: “I rarely meet him, maybe sometimes in a function. But I never discuss politics and policies with him.”

Three days after the government tabled the Liberhan commission’s report in Parliament, sources in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates summed up the mood in the parivar. If the Ayodhya “movement” were to be revived, politics should be kept out of it, they said, and the stewardship left to “sants” and “dharmacharyas”.

Asked if the BJP’s involvement in the Ram temple “movement” and its overt politicisation had undermined the credibility of the agitation, Singhal said: “If interlopers pushed themselves into our movement what can we do? Why only the BJP? Even P.V. Narasimha Rao (the Prime Minister at the time of the demolition) was with us. I met him thrice one-to-one. The meetings were facilitated by a high-profile intermediary.”

Quizzed on Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s indictment by the commission for his “role” in the run-up to the demolition, the VHP chief said: “Yes, Atalji was involved in the movement. He did not have to say anything to prove that he was involved. He had also been arrested, he had been arrested in Lucknow.” Singhal couldn’t recall when.

VHP joint general secretary Champak Rai, the main interface between the RSS-VHP and Ayodhya cadres throughout the movement, said he didn’t remember Vajpayee ever being detained.

“In 1990, when Ayodhya was under state siege, perhaps Atalji was asked not to travel there. His only involvement in Ayodhya was inaugurating a train from Gonda to Faizabad (in February 2004) when he was Prime Minister. He was in the train and it briefly halted in Ayodhya. Otherwise he had nothing to do with our struggle,” Rai said.

Singhal revived the VHP’s demand for handing over the Shahi Idgah mosque in Mathura and the Gyan Vapi Masjid in Varanasi so that temples could be built on these sites. He also urged political parties to pass a law in Parliament for the plots to be handed over to Hindus.

“Only the withdrawal of claims of Muslims on these sites and the handing over of these places to Hindus by a law of Parliament can ensure... real Hindu-Muslim unity,” he said.

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