Madhav Godbole, former Home Secretary of India. Photo/ANI
Madhav Godbole, former Home Secretary of India. Photo/ANI

We had made proposal to invoke Article 355: Former Home Secretary on Babri Masjid demolition

ANI | Updated: Nov 04, 2019 14:08 IST

Pune (Maharashtra) [India], Nov 4 (ANI): Former Home Secretary of India, Madhav Godbole on Monday said that a proposal to invoke Article 355 was made during the year 1992 when Babri Masjid was demolished.
Article 355 of the constitution states that it shall be the duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the Government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
Godbole, talking about his recently published book over the Ayodhya issue, said, "We had prepared a plan to say -- you should take over mosque and Centre should be in charge of protecting it. To do that, you have to take over the state government by dismissing the state government of Uttar Pradesh under Article 356 but this alone was not enough."
"We had made a proposal to say that we should invoke Article 355 by which Central forces can be sent under the Central government's command to Uttar Pradesh to protect that mosque and then impose President's rule," he added.
The former Home Secretary said this effectively was the proposal because "state government was not going to be cooperative" and added that huge contingency plans were prepared.
Godbole said he has dedicated his book to "unsung heroes of the home ministry who worked for weeks to prepare the contingency plan."
He recalled that Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao was doubtful whether he had power under the constitution to impose president rule.
"My view was quite the opposite...over 100 times the President's Rule has been imposed. I have argued in the book that perhaps this was the only occasion when it should have been implemented," he said.
He also blamed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi saying if he had acted it was possible to find a solution.
"If Rajiv Gandhi had acted it was possible to find out a solution because political positions had not fortified on both sides, there was a possibility of give and take and a solution could have been acceptable. Several suggestions were suggested to Rajiv Gandhi including MP Shahabuddin and Minister Karan Singh that time," he said.
Explaining the suggestions given to the former Prime Minister, Godbole said, "Rajiv Gandhi was not interested. In fact, he went to the extent of opening the locks on the Babri Masjid and permitting "Shilanyaas" to take place. I have called Rajiv Gandhi second Karsevak in my book. First was the District Magistrate who allowed all this to begin."
The Former Home Secretary said Central government by itself cannot contain the violence in the state. Those are the powers of the state government, he said.
"After demolition, there was little which could have been done because there were thousands of Karsevaks all over the place. There was a huge contingency force stationed just 10kms from Ayodhya but it was not permitted to get in when the destruction of Masjid was going on because the Karsevaks stopped them," he said.
"The paramilitary force, in fact, started coming to Ayodhya and had to go back because the Magistrates were not available," he said.
It was a total failure of the constitution, therefore, I have called it an acid test of the Constitution and its working," he added.
The former Home Secretary took a dig at the book written by PV Narsimha Rao saying the only interesting highlight of that book is the fact that he was made a scapegoat of Congress party.
Madhav Godbole is a former IAS officer and former home secretary of India. He was the member of the team which made a contingency plan to tackle the Babri Ayodhya dispute. He has written a book on Ayodhya Babri dispute 'The Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir Dilemma: An Acid Test for India's Constitution'. In 1994 he took voluntary retirement considering the failure of the then government to tackle the dispute. (ANI)