Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar made a number of big statements in relation to the Ayodhya issue and has hit out at his own party in the matter, saying at an event in the national capital on Monday that what transpired on December 6, 1992, i.e. the Babri Masjid's demolition, was a "huge sin" and that the Narasimha Rao-led Congress government at the time failed in its duty to stop it from taking place.
"One day - what happened on December 6 - that tragedy should never be forgotten", the former senior diplomat said, adding, "It wasn't just a tragedy, it was such a sin that it should never again be allowed and shouldn't have been allowed."
Taking aim at the then central government he continued, "That it happened - it was our job to stop it. I say 'our' because it was the Congress in government. Narasimha Rao didn't take the step he should have... what to say? Anyone can make mistakes, and I'm not prepared to accept any excuses, because it should have been stopped for it was an attempt to break the country and to create another country."
Aiyar was speaking at an event hosted by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) called 'Ek Shaam Babri Masjid Ke Naam', and also spoke about the endeavour to build a Ram Mandir at the Ram Janmabhoomi site.
"We say, do make the mandir in Ayodhya if you want, but how can you say 'Mandir wahin banayenge'? What is the meaning of 'Mandir wahin banayenge?' Dashrat was a very big king. It is said that his palace had 10,000 rooms. Who knows what room was where? That's why, to say that 'we believe our Lord Ram was born here and that's why we'll build it there and as there's a Masjid there we'll first break it and build in its place', we say is believing in Allah a wrong thing in India?", Aiyar said.
This is hardly the first time in recent months that a senior Congress leader has made remarks questioning the location where the Mandir should be built. Shashi Tharoor had suggested that people "build the mandir in their hearts", though at least in Aiyar's case, he wasn't talking about a figurative Temple.
Aiyar went on to speak about the current BJP government, undermining its historic mandate and putting forth,
"Those who were behind the demolition are not supported by the people of this country. In 2014, General election, around 31 per cent of Indians extended their support to them but that too for different reasons. In 2014, they got an opportunity but they completely ruined it in the last five years. I know that Indian people want to be secular."
Weighing in on the current circumstances of the matter -- the title suit case that will be taken up by the Supreme Court starting Thursday -- Mani Shankar Aiyar said, "We will see. The case in court will be decided. It is important that we keep India united. If the court decides and you are not satisfied, we will talk and we will do whatever we can. But I have complete faith in our judiciary. I believe we will not forget the meaning of justice. If we don't agree, then there are many other ways to face that situation"
The Congress is yet to clarify its stand vis-a-vis the developments in the Ayodhya case, with the most high-profile input -- that of senior leader Kapil Sibal telling the apex court in December 2017 while appearing for one of the petitioners to only hear the case after the 2019 elections -- being criticised by the BJP.
The Supreme Court will constitute the appropriate bench to hear the case on January 10 and further orders will be passed thereon.