A special CBI court today acquitted all the accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Among the accused were BJP leaders LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and Vinay Katyar.
During the previous hearing on September 16, the CBI judge SK Yadav had directed all 32 surviving accused to attend the court on the Day of Judgment. Two of them, Kalyan Singh and Uma Bharti, are getting treated for Covid-19 in separate hospitals.
The CBI Court had adjudged that the Babri demolition was not re-planned. This has been the argument of the BJP and the VHP leaders who were accused in the case. They maintained that it was a spontaneous act on part of the karsevaks who acted on their own on the day of the Babri Masjid demolition.
It was a Mughal era mosque that stood at the site of the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya. The mosque was constructed during the reign of Babar, the founder of Mughal dynasty in India. However, there is lack of unanimity about the date of construction of the Babri Masjid. The Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992. The day was previously remembered mainly as the day of passing away of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution. The demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 in Ayodhya changed the order of diary entry for December 6.
The Babri Masjid had three domes and the devotees of Lord Ram believe the spot under the central dome was the exact birthplace of Lord Ram. Shortly after noon, the Babri Masjid had fallen. All three domes had been brought down by the karsevaks. The Uttar Pradesh Police registered a total of 49 cases in connection with events leading to the demolition of Babri Masjid and subsequent happenings. The cases included those relating to rioting, delivery of speeches to disrupt communal harmony and attacks on journalists.
"Anti-social elements brought down the structure. The accused leaders tried to stop these people," said the special judge, whose term had been extended for this verdict. The judge also said the audio and video evidence produced by the CBI did not establish conspiracy charges. "The audio of the speeches was also not clear," he said.
Mr Advani recorded his statement before the special CBI court through video conference on July 24. He was asked 100 questions. Both he and Mr Joshi denied all charges against them.
Over the last 28 years, the case has seen many turns. Two cases were filed in 1992, which eventually grew to 49. The second case, FIR no 198, had named Mr Advani, Mr Joshi and Uma Bharti for promoting religious enmity and provoking rioting. Later, the Supreme Court asked that criminal conspiracy charges be restored against them.
In a historic ruling in November, the Supreme Court handed over the site claimed by both Hindus and Muslims for the building of a Ram temple. The groundbreaking ceremony took place earlier this year, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi performing the main rituals.