NEW DELHI: Madhav Godbole, who was the Union home secretary when the mosque was demolished 28 years ago, is “disappointed” at the special CBI court finding “no criminal conspiracy” in the demolition. He feels the judgment would encourage people to take law in their own hands and embolden them to claim the disputed sites in Mathura and Varanasi.
The former bureaucrat also wants the role of CBI to be investigated as to why the agency did not produce adequate evidence in court.
When asked about his views on the court calling the demolition a “spur of the moment” incident, Godbole said, “You cannot bring down the whole structure in five hours by ‘spur of the moment’ action, without any planning or preparation on part of anybody. The meaning of the judgment is quite clear — that nothing went wrong.”
Godbole, who had prepared a contingency plan — that was not approved by the then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao — to avoid what happened on December 6, 1992, elaborated, “I thought at least so far as this criminal act of demolishing Babri Masjid is concerned, all those who were responsible, whosoever they are, will be held guilty. But…that has not been possible. And the only way to set this right is to go to a higher court in appeal.”
Asked if he considers this a closure for victims of the communal riots that broke out across India in the aftermath of the demolition, Godbole said, “This is not the closure as far as the common man is concerned. But for the government, this will be a closure. This judgment is disappointing and if the court has come to the conclusion that the evidence was not enough for them to take any other view, then this decision must be appealed in the high court and, if necessary, in the SC because it needs to be established at the highest level that there was no conspiracy.”
He said it should be probed why the CBI “was not in a position to produce enough evidence or why it did not produce adequate evidence”.
The CBI should be given more autonomy to ensure fair probe, he said Godbole added, “This judgment will only encourage people to take law in their own hands with the belief that the law will not catch up with them. …This kind of judgment will encourage people to take recourse to other demands such as claims of disputed sites in Mathura and Varanasi. “Demands have been made to amend Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which seeks to maintain the religious character of holy structures as it was at the time of Independence. This will be unending till you come to the crux of the problem, which is to separate religion from politics.”