Babri verdict: All accused, including LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, acquitted

Clay Curtis
September 30, 2020

"The Supreme Court in its judgment dated November 9, 2019 pronounced by five-judges clearly held that demolition of Babri Masjid as a clear illegality and "egregious violation of the rule of law", Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said. "This ends the long pending dispute related with the December 6, 1992 incident", said lawyer KK Mishra.

Although, Special CBI judge Surendra Kumar Yadav had directed all 32 surviving accused including BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh to be present in the court on 30 September, but these four leaders will give it a miss.

Yadav had on September 16 directed all the 32 surviving accused to remain present in the court on the day of the judgment.

State deputy chief minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan, home minister Basavaraj Bommai and BJP national general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh joined many others to welcome the Babri mosque demolition verdict.

The structure was demolished by "kar sevaks" who claimed that the mosque in Ayodhya was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple. Charges were framed against 48 people, but 16 have died during the course of trial.

In April 2017, the top court had asked the special court to complete the trial within two years with daily hearings.

The court in its verdict said that "anti-social elements" tried to demolish the mosque and that the accused leaders tried to stop them, the New Delhi Television news channel reported citing the court order.

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Defence Minister and BJP leader Rajnath Singh welcomed the CBI court's judgment, saying "It proves that justice triumphed however late it may be".

Supreme Court had earlier termed the Allahabad High Court's February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others as "erroneous".

Advani along with party colleagues like Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi were charged with making inflammatory speeches that motivated lakhs of right-wing volunteers or karsevaks to pull down the mosque in 1992.

The charges against the accused were promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, having made assertions "prejudicial to national integration and injuring or defiling a place of worship", indulging in "deliberate and malicious" acts meant to outrage religious feelings, uttering statements leading to public mischief, rioting and unlawful assembly.

While dubbing the demolition of the disputed structure as a "crime" which shook the "secular fabric of the Constitution", it had allowed the CBI's plea on restoration of the criminal conspiracy charge against the VVIP accused. Vehicular movement on the roads adjoining the court has been minimsed.

Before the 2017 verdict of the apex court, two sets of cases were being heard in Lucknow and Raebareli.

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