This is probably a first in the history of the rss. When sarsanghchalak K.S. Sudarshan expounded his ‘Congress-bomb-brought-down-Babri Masjid’ theory at Thiruvanathapuram last fortnight, he not only evoked criticism from the media but also from within the Sangh parivar. The criticism ranged from ridiculing him to questioning his penchant for shooting his mouth off.
Rejecting the sarsangchalak’s theory, vhp vice-president Acharya Giriraj Kishore told Outlook: "It was not required of him to say this at this juncture; he (Sudarshan) could have waited, but he made the statement. I don’t know why he said that... I surely didn’t hear the sound of any bomb blast and nor did any blast take place at that time." Kishore sought to play down the controversy by describing it as a statement by a "young leader". Says the vhp leader: "We hold the sarsanghchalak’s post in very high esteem. But at times, an individual and the position that he holds become separate. Especially when one is in his youth. He is not all that old."
At least, two other top leaders—the vhp’s Acharya Dharmendra and bjp MP Vinay Katiyar—publicly debunked the bomb theory. While Katiyar described Sudarshan’s theory as "an insult" to the kar sevaks who brought down the mosque on December 6, 1992, Acharya Dharmendra said that the "disputed structure" was demolished by the kar sevaks. Their keenness to take credit for the demolition is understandable, what with the rank and file getting increasingly restless over the bjp’s attitude on the temple issue.
What irked the vhp most was that Sudarshan’s statement, tantamount to washing his hands of the demolition, came when even the PM had closed ranks with the hawks. The fact remains that before he took over as the sarsanghchalak, Sudarshan had an image of someone who shoots his mouth off too often, traits that are not encouraged within the rss monolith. This put him in stark contrast to his predecessors like Rajju Bhaiyya and Balasaheb Deoras.
But why did Sudarshan make such a statement at a time when Parliament had come to a grinding halt over the issue of the resignation of the three ministers accused in the demolition? Says Kishore: "Maybe he thought that the resignation of the ministers was being sought and his statement would shift the burden."
However, this is not the first time that an rss leader has resorted to fabricating stories. Noted jurist A.G. Noorani has said that Justice Y.V. Chandrachud disbelieved the evidence provided by rss treasurer Nana Deshmukh in the Deen Dayal Upadhyay murder case because he discovered that Deshmukh had manufactured the document.
He gives another example. In November 1990, bjp general secretary K.L. Sharma claimed to have seen a copy of Harijan Sewak of July 27, 1937, containing Gandhi’s views on the Ramjanmabhoomi. It was later revealed that Sharma had concocted the story.
Sudarshan’s next round of embarrassment may surface when he appears before the Liberhan Commission on December 20. Sangh insiders have their fingers crossed, hoping that he doesn’t make another faux pas till then.
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