Babri Masjid demolition case: All 32 accused including LK Advani acquitted by special court

Updated: 30 September, 2020 13:09 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Lucknow

While, 26 accused were present in the court; Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti, Nritya Gopal Das, Kalyan Singh and Satish Pradhan registered court presence through video conferencing

L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti
L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti

Twenty-eight years after the Babri Masjid was demolished, a special CBI court in Lucknow on Wednesday acquitted all the accused, including BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.

The case that changed the political and social course of the country had 32 persons named as accused, including Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and former Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh.

While 26 accused were present in the court; Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti, Nritya Gopal Das, Kalyan Singh and Satish Pradhan registered court presence through video conference.

Special CBI judge S.K. Yadav, in his verdict, said that the demotion was not a planned incident but a spontaneous act. He said that Ashok Singhal and other Sangh Parivar leaders wanted to save the structure as Ram Lalla statues were inside.

The court observed that leaders who were present on the dais repeatedly tried to persuade the 'kar sewaks' against taking any action on that day. The court further said the CBI has failed to substantiate the charges levelled against the 32 accused persons. The court also said that the video recordings submitted to the court were 'tampered with'.

The judge pointed out that the prosecution could not produce enough evidence against the accused. He said that the authenticity of audio, video provided by CBI could not be proven and the audio of the speeches were not clear.

The court also said that those who climbed on the dome, were anti-social elements.

As soon as the court announced the acquittal of the accused, jubilation broke out outside the court, in Ayodhya and Lucknow where supporters of the leaders were present to celebrate the occasion.

Former BJP MP Vinay Katiyar and Hindu leader Sadhvi Rithambhara, who were among the accused present in court, said: "Sab Ramji ki kripa hai".

Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharati are accused of conspiracy that led to the demolition of the 15th century mosque in December 1992.

Also read: What Babri Masjid demolition case is all about?

It was said that the mosque was built after pulling down an ancient temple that marked the birthplace of Lord Ram and in November last year, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark verdict in the title suit of the Ram Janambhoomi case, ordering the construction of a temple at the site.

Advani, 92, had recorded his statement in the case before the special CBI court through video conference on July 24.

Joshi, 86, recorded his statement a day before Advani. Both have denied all the charges against them just like Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh.

Kalyan Singh, a senior BJP leader, was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh at the time of the mosque demolition.

His government was dismissed as riots broke out across the country in which around 3,000 people died.

In April 2017, the top court had asked the special court to conduct day-to-day hearings and complete the trial within two years.

It was given several extensions thereafter and when special judge S.K. Yadav asked for more time, the court extended the deadline to September 30.

The symbolic construction of Ram temple started earlier this year, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi participating in the ground-breaking ceremony in Ayodhya on August 5.

Babri plaintiff, Iqbal Ansari, said in Ayodhya that after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Ram temple last year, the demolition case had lost its relevance.

"I welcome acquittal of the 32 persons by the court. There should be no further dispute on the matter," he said.

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First Published: 30 September, 2020 12:27 IST

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