Though Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has attacked the previous UPA government for coining the term “Hindu terror”, saying it had weakened the fight against terrorism, Justice (retd) Manmohan Singh Liberhan first used the term “Hindu militants” in his report on the Babri Masjid demolition. And he stands by it.
“I mentioned the ‘Hindu militants’ term in my report. Even if I change my view, I cannot rub it off. I am not a politician,” says Justice Liberhan. “Any kind of terrorism is bad. Killing of innocent people is bad,” he added.
The commission headed by Justice Liberhan, then a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was appointed in December 1992 and submitted its report, running over more than 1,000 pages, to the Union government after 17 years in 2009.
Liberhan indicted many senior BJP and RSS leaders in the report, but has no hope of any action being taken on it, or on the report submitted by Justice B N Srikrishna on the 1993 Mumbai riots.
“I have given various recommendations. No political party is ready and willing to act on that. It’s politics of votes and slogans. A commission of enquiry is totally useless… These commissions will meet the same fate as that of other commissions. How many commissions have been appointed in the anti-Sikh riots and Subhas Chandra Bose cases?” said Justice Liberhan.
Asked about probe into cases allegedly involving “Hindu terrorists”, such as the Samjhauta blasts and Malegaon, where witnesses have been turning hostile, he said, “Independence of agencies like the NIA is a farce. If political masters want, they can get matters investigated overnight and cases can reach finality.”
While Liberhan refused to comment specifically on the Yakub Memon hanging — “Supreme Court judges have already said a lot,” he said — he added he was against the death penalty.
“It should not be there. There is always a chance of benefit of doubt. After all, human agencies are involved. The chances of error cannot be eliminated.”
On whether BJP politicians indicted by him in his report should have been appointed to constitutional posts, Liberhan said, “Kalyan Singh (the Rajasthan governor) was the hero of the whole demolition. Political parties know that.”
He said he had paid a price for being truthful in his report, and would continue to pay it.