Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has said that his party could have prevented the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 but the government did not act, PTI reported on Tuesday. Congress’ PV Narasimha Rao was the prime minister at the time.

On December 6, 1992, the mosque in Ayodhya was demolished by lakhs of Hindutva activists who had gathered at the site from across the country. According to them, the mosque stood on land that was the birthplace of Hindu deity Ram. The incident triggered communal riots across the country.

Singh claimed that even though he was unaware of the inside story, he had later found out that Rao was swayed by the sworn affidavits of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the Supreme Court, saying that they had not demolished the mosque.

“The Congress party could have prevented the demolition of the Babri Masjid had it taken preventive steps and allowed the army and central forces to protect the place,” Singh said at a book launch in Delhi on Monday. Blaming the then Congress government’s inaction, Singh said: “I personally feel guilty of what happened at Babri Masjid.”

The Congress leader said that he was in Bhopal at the time and that former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun Singh, a minister in Rao’s Cabinet in 1992, wanted to resign a day after the demolition but later chose to stay on instead. During the discussion on the book, which explores the nexus between Naga Sadhus and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Singh said that he appreciated the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party for being “consistent in their objective of Hindu Rashtra”, according to The New Indian Express.