Nehru note on Ayodhya vanishes

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  • Published 4.06.05

Lucknow, June 4: A note from Jawaharlal Nehru directing the Uttar Pradesh government to shift the idols of Ram Lalla out of the Babri Masjid premises has gone missing.

The state government has filed an affidavit in Allahabad High Court stating five of seven documents petitioned by the Sunni Central Board of Waqf ? Nehru’s message is one ? have not been traced after a thorough search of the home and 38 other departments.

The May 25 affidavit lists the missing missive as “a telegram/telex message of Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, to the government of Uttar Pradesh for removal of idols from the Babri Mosque, received by Government of Uttar Pradesh in December 1949 or January 1950”.

The Sunni waqf board, which had asked for the documents during a hearing of the Babri title suit (ownership of mosque premises) in 2002, has decided to seek a CBI probe into the disappearance.

Displeased board advocate Zaffar A. Jilani today suggested mischief-makers may have secretly conspired to whisk away the documents to hush up the case.

“We have enough evidence to prove these five documents had reached the state government headquarters and remained there till 1991.

“How did these disappear after the (Babri) demolition and who were responsible for this?” he asked.

Although Jilani, also the Babri Action Committee convener, did not name names, his finger appeared pointed at Kalyan Singh’s BJP regime which was ruling Uttar Pradesh in 1992, the year the mosque was razed.

“We don’t want to name any particular person. But a regime having communal perception might have conspired to remove this,” he said.

Hinting the missing telegram was set to snowball into a huge controversy, another board member said the document was crucial to establishing that the idols were force-installed.

“We are laying great stress on the telegram as it proves the Ram Lalla idols were placed near the mosque by some elements to create a communally sensitive condition, about which our first Prime Minister was deeply concerned,” he said.

Of the seven documents the board had asked for, two letters from the Faizabad district magistrate to the Uttar Pradesh government were made available to the court. The letters were dated July 20, 1949 and September 3, 1949.

Of those missing, four were correspondences between the state government and the Faizabad DM and commissioner in 1949-50 when Govind Ballabh Pant was chief minister. The fifth was Nehru’s note.

The existence of these documents has been confirmed from notes registered at the Faizabad commissionerate and the DM’s office. But, since 2002, requisitions sent to the government departments have repeatedly met with the reply: “We are not in possession of the documents.”

The disappearance has brought much flak on the state with the high court saying its “refusal to submit the same (documents) is delaying the case from being disposed of”.

State advocate-general Virendra Bhatia said: “It is a fact the documents are untraced. We are trying to locate them. These are old records. It is possible they might have been misplaced.”

Former state BJP chief Vinay Katiyar gunned for the Sunni waqf board, claiming it was “using court to talk politics”.

“This is unfair. I don’t know if at all Nehru had sent a telegram. What is the telegram supposed to prove? If the petitioners are insinuating the BJP government removed it, let us hear that clearly.

“When the entire structure is missing, what is there to deplore the loss of a piece of paper?”