The Congress admitted on Tuesday that its leader and former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao was not alert enough to prevent the demolition of the Babri mosque.
Participating in the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Liberhan Commission report, party MP Beni Prasad Verma placed the major share of the blame for the demolition of the mosque on the Sangh Parivar and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but also said that Rao, the then prime minister, also made a mistake.
"If somebody goes to commit robbery in a house, he is the sinner. But if the house owner is sleeping, the fault also lies with him," he said.
"You have committed a dacoity," he said, pointing to the BJP members.
Verma, the MP from Gonda, said that if force was used against Sangh Parivar activists assembled near the Babri mosque, they would have run away.
He contended that the demolition of mosque had besmirched the image of India's democracy. "The biggest punishment for the BJP will be its political isolation," he said.
Verma said his native place was close to Ayodhya and he had a better idea of where Lord Ram was born than BJP leader L.K. Advani who had migrated from Pakistan, drawing protests from the BJP members.
Dismissing the theory that Babri mosque was built after demolishing a temple in the 16th century, he said that it was built by lower caste Hindus who had converted to Islam following their isolation.
He also took a dig at Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh for intermittently befriending former BJP leader Kalyan Singh, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when the Babri mosque was demolished.
Verma's remarks led to two adjournments of the house with BJP members protesting derogatory remarks by him and insisting on an unconditional apology.