PV`s aides dismiss criticism on Ayodhya demolition

Two top officials who worked closely with former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao said he tried his best to prevent demolition of Babri mosque.

Hyderabad: Dismissing criticism of former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao over the Ayodhya issue, two top officials who worked closely with him today said he tried his best to prevent demolition of Babri mosque and to ensure rule of law.

Recalling the sequence of events on December 6, 1992 when Ayodhya structure was demolished, P V R K Prasad, Media Advisor to the then prime minister Rao, said it is "absurd" to say that the Premier was "incommunicado" and termed the remarks in the yet-to-be-released autobiography of late Congress leader Arjun Singh as "ridiculous" and a "cock and bull story".

"Arjun Singh was not present in the morning. Arjun Singh was away about 300?400 miles as he himself has written. Arjun Singh has written that he has contacted the Prime Minister`s residence and they said that the Prime Minister is incommunicado. He (Rao) had locked himself and was not available. Arjun Singh knew all senior officers. He never mentioned whom he contacted, the person` name was not given and he just made that statement.

"He also made a statement that by the time he came back, he came there and visited the Prime Minister`s residence he was still locked and all that. I thought this is not only absurd, this is ridiculous. There is no end to this cock and bull story," Prasad said.

Rao held meetings with top officials and monitored the situation on the fateful day when the demolition took place, he said.
"That day, when the Babri incident started, I was at home watching TV. When I started seeing some people crossing the barricades and all that, I had a premonition that something might happen. I rushed to the Prime Minister?s house. I was the first person to reach the Prime Minister?s residence that day as an official because the private staff were there.

"To my surprise, I found that the Prime Minister was watching the TV, but already he had got in touch with Madhav Godbole, who was the Home Secretary at that time, and Chavan, who was the Home Minister and I think he was getting in touch with IB Chief," he said.
The other top officials joined in later as the situation at Ayodhya appeared to be getting out of control, he said.

Prasad and P C Rao, who Law Secretary during Rao regime, were speaking at a ‘Meet the Press’ organised by the Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) here this evening.


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