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'Rao did puja during Babri demolition'

Yet another book has levelled an allegation that P V Narasimha Rao had connived at the demolition of Babri Masjid, claiming that the late Prime Minister had sat in a puja when the kar sevaks began pulling it down and rose only when it was over.

The charge relating to the demolition on 6 December 1992 has been made by eminent journalist Kuldip Nayar in his soon-to-be released autobiography Beyond the Lines being brought out by Roli Books.

'My information was that Rao had connived at the demolition. He sat at puja when the kar sevaks began pulling down the mosque and rose only when the last stone had been removed.'

'Madhu Limaye [late socialist leader] later told me that during the puja, Rao's aide whispered in his ears that the masjid had been demolished. Within seconds, the puja was over', he said in a chapter on Narasimha Rao's Government in the book.

P V Ranga Rao, son of the late Prime Minister, however strongly dismissed the claim as 'unbelievable and untenable'.

'It is unbelievable and untenable... There is no way father would have done so. He was in anguish when the Babri structure was demolished, for he loved Muslims for years and was their ardent supporter. He told us many times that it should not have happened,' Rao said reacting to the reported claim of the late socialist leader Madhu Limaye.

Regretting that an eminent journalist like Nayar could write such things, Ranga Rao said 'vested interests' were trying to spew venom at his father, who is no more to defend himself.

Nayar said that when there were riots in the wake of the demolition, Rao invited some senior journalists to his house.

'He was at pains to explain to us how his government had made every arrangement to stop the demolition. Rao said he was betrayed by the UP chief minister Kalyan Singh'.

When asked how a small temple could have been erected overnight at the site when the centre was at the helm of affairs having dismissed the Kalyan Singh government, Rao said he had attempted to send a contingent of CRPF by plane to Lucknow but they were unable to land because of bad weather.

Besides, Nayar said Rao did not explain the 'inaction' of central forces in Ayodhya, but assured him that the temple would not be there 'for long'.

'Rao's government will always be held responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid,' Nayar said.
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