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India probe blames mosque attack on Hindu leaders

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A government investigation released Tuesday reportedly implicated dozens of Hindu nationalist politicians — including a former prime minister — in the 1992 demolition of a mosque that sparked deadly communal riots.

The attack by Hindu mobs on the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, 350 miles (550 kilometers) east of New Delhi, sparked nationwide riots that killed 2,000 people in the largest explosion of Hindu-Muslim tension in the country in decades.

Hindu nationalist leaders claim the mosque was built by Mogul rulers at the site of a Hindu temple marking the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram.

The violence was a black mark on India’s secular tradition and exposed simmering religious tensions in the country.

A copy of the report, released by NDTV television, listed 68 Hindu nationalist politicians, bureaucrats and other officials as being culpable in the violence. Among those: Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who later became prime minister.

The government gave parliament the long-delayed report into the mosque’s destruction on Tuesday. But with many lawmakers from nationalist opposition parties protesting the investigation, officials appeared to pull back from plans to make the nearly 1,000 page document publicly available.

The report, clogged in the morass of Indian bureaucracy, has taken so long to produce that many of those accused of stoking the violence have since died.

© 2009 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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