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Babri Masjid demolition verdict: All including LK Advani, Joshi acquitted

The special court acquitted all 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition conspiracy case

Babri Masjid | Supreme Court | LK Advani

BS Web Team & Agencies  |  New Delhi 

L K AdvaniL K Advani
Senior BJP leader L K Advani, one the accused in Babri mosque demolition case, along with his daughter Pratibha Advani (L) and son Jayant Advani (C) after the verdict by the special CBI court, outside his residence in New Delhi | PTI photo

Twenty-eight years after the was razed, a court here acquitted all 32 people — including BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi, and — accused of being involved in the demolition of the mosque they believed occupied the spot where Lord Ram was born.

In a judgment that ran to 2,300 pages with enclosures, the special CBI court on Wednesday said there was no conclusive evidence against the 32 accused of being involved in any conspiracy to bring down the disputed structure in Ayodhya.

Delivering the verdict on the day of his retirement, special Judge S K Yadav did not accept newspaper reports and video cassettes as evidence.

The court also observed that the late Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal wanted to save the structure because Ram idols were inside.

The 16th century mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992, triggering riots that left hundreds dead in the country and widening rifts between the communities. Twenty-six of the accused were present in the Lucknow court when the judge read out the operative portion of the verdict.

Former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, former Union ministers and Uma Bharti, Ram Janmaboomi Teerth Kshetra Trust president Nritya Gopal Das and Shiv Sena leader Satish Pradhan had sought exemptions from personal appearance.

Kalyan Singh and are in hospital recovering from Covid-19. The trust president was also tested positive last month.

The judge took his seat at 12.10 pm and spent five minutes reading out the operative part of his judgment.

As he pronounced them not guilty, some of the accused chanted “Jai Shri Ram” in the court. As did Advani, a key figure in the movement, at his home.

“It is a very important decision and a matter of happiness for us. When we heard the news of the court's order, we welcomed it by chanting Jai Shri Ram,” he said in a video message.

The verdict comes less than a year after the Supreme Court's historic judgment in the related Ram Janmabhoomi-land dispute that paved the way for the construction of a temple at the Ayodhya site.

The apex court verdict had called the demolition an “egregious violation of the rule of law.” But combined with the ‘bhoomi pujan’ for the only last month, the verdict in the demolition case has come as boost to the Bharatiya Janata Party. It also helps bring the temple issue centre stage just weeks before the party faces assembly polls in Bihar.

Iqbal Ansari, a prominent litigant in the Ram Janmabhoomi-title suit, welcomed the verdict.


"It is good that all have been acquitted. Whatever had to happen, happened on November 9 last year. This case should also have ended the same day,” he said, referring to the judgment.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi called the development "obnoxious".

"This judgment satisfies the collective consciousness of Hindutva and its followers and ideology," he told reporters in Hyderabad.

"Was it some sort of magic that on December 6 the masjid was demolished? Who called for the assembling of the people over there? Who made sure that they entered over there?" he asked.

Zafaryab Jilani, senior lawyer and member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), said the verdict will be challenged in the high court.

In Lucknow, CBI counsel Lalit Singh said the agency will decide on filing an appeal against the special court verdict after consulting its legal department.

The verdict was delivered on the last day of the final deadline set by the Supreme Court, which had also extended the judge's retirement age.

The CBI produced 351 witnesses and 600 documents as evidence. Charges were framed against 48 people, but 16 have died during the course of the trial.

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First Published: Wed, September 30 2020. 12:32 IST