New Delhi - Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has held the country’s former prime minister and senior Congress leader Narasimha Rao responsible for demolition of Babri mosque, which led to countrywide riots in 1992.

“The inability to prevent the demolition of the Babri Masjid was one of PV’s [Narasimha Rao] biggest failures,” writes Mukherjee in the second volume of his memoir – The Turbulent Years: 1980 – 96.

“The demolition of Babri Masjid was an act of absolute perfidy, which should make all Indians hang their heads in shame.”

The Indian president has chronicled momentous developments of the 1980s and 90s in the book, including former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Operation Blue Star and his ousting from Rajiv Gandhi’s cabinet.

“This volume is an account of major events from my perspective,” he said while speaking about the book on Thursday.

According to Indian media, Mukherjee’s second edition of his three-part memoir The Turbulent Years is hardly a tell-all.

A man with experience of close to half-a-century would have far juicier information to share. But the president has admitted that some things will die with him. Mukherjee has revealed that only his personal journal will be witness to those forbidden facts.

A major chunk of the portions in the book that deal with Rajiv Gandhi are dedicated to his increasing alienation from Congress - and eventual expulsion for six years that was apparently never formalised.

Mukherjee bares his heart about being flabbergasted after he was dropped from Rajiv Gandhi’s cabinet after the Congress registered a historic win in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s tumultuous tenure.

But there are no unkind words. Mukherjee, makes peace with Rajiv Gandhi’s decision saying, “he made some mistakes, so did I”.

The kindness he shows towards Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi does not extend to PV Narsimha Rao. Mukherjee is very critical of the way Rao dealt with the Babri Masjid demolition - spearheaded by BJP-VHP leaders in 1992.

Mukherjee was not a part of the cabinet during the riot. Sample this excerpt: “The inability to prevent the demolition of the Babri Masjid was one of PV’s biggest failures. He should have entrusted the task of tough negotiations with other political parties to a more senior and seasoned politician familiar with politics in UP - like ND Tiwari.

Later, in a private meeting with PV, I did not mince words. I burst out, ‘Was there no one who advised you of the dangers? Did you not understand the global repercussions of any damage to the Babri Masjid? At least now take concrete steps to quell communal tensions and assuage the feelings of Muslims through affirmative action.”

There is also a marked difference in the way he talks about the Babri Masjid demolition and the anti-Sikh riots. Here’s a sample: “The killing of innocents and rioting is unconscionable at any time. These riots deserve to be condemned in the strongest of terms. The fact that they broke out in the name of revenge for Indiraji’s assassination made it a blot not just upon her name but also that of India.”

But he chooses far harsher words to describe the impact of the Babri Masjid demolition: “The demolition of the Babri Masjid was an act of absolute perfidy, which should make all Indians hang their heads in shame. It was the senseless, wanton destruction of a religious structure, purely to serve political ends. It deeply wounded the sentiments of the Muslim community in India and abroad. It destroyed India’s image as a tolerant, pluralistic nation where all religions have coexisted in peace and harmony. In fact, the Foreign Minister of an important Islamic country later pointed out to me that such damage had not been inflicted on a mosque even in Jerusalem, which has seen religious conflicts for centuries.”