Nearly after three-decades of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Wednesday acquitted all the 32 accused, including BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti.
CBI Judge Surendra Kumar Yadav said that the demolition of the 500-year old Babri Masjid was not pre-planned, in the criminal conspiracy case, holding that there was no conclusive proof against them. He said the act was but a spontaneous, concerning the razing of the disputed structure in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
KK Mishra who represented 25 out of 32 accused in the case said that, “the CBI court has acquitted all 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case. This ends the long-pending dispute related to the December 6, 1992 incident.”
Twenty-six out of 32 accused, were present when the judgment was pronounced, while LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti, Satish Pradhan, Kalyan Singh, and Nritya Gopal Das excused themselves from the hearing. Advani and Joshi explained themselves on the ground of health and the coronavirus protocol and attended the hearing through video link, Bharti and Singh have infected COVID-19.
Security was tightened outside the court premises in the Qaiserbagh area of Lucknow, with heavy police deployment and barricading outside the court. Even Media persons were not allowed to enter the court premises.
Reaction from Political Leaders:
Advani while reacting to the verdict said the judgment vindicated his personal and BJP’s belief and commitment toward the Ram Janmabhoomi movement while Murli Manohar Joshi called it a “historic decision” by the court.
The Congress said the verdict moves counter to the 2019 Supreme Court judgment as also the “Constitutional spirit.” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala pointed out that Supreme Court Judgement in 2019 pronounced by 5 Judges, clearly held the Babri Masjid Demolition Case as a clear illegality and “egregious violation of rule of law.”
However, the decision of the special court to acquit all the accused in the Babri Masjid case is beyond the Supreme Court decision and the constitution.
He further added “entire country (had) witnessed a deep-rooted political conspiracy by BJP-RSS and its leaders” to destroy the country’s “communal amity and brotherhood for usurping power at any cost.”
He also alleged that the BJP Government and UP Government had tried to mislead Apex Court by filing a wrong Affidavit on oath. But, after thorough examination Court held the demolition of Masjid to be ‘an egregious violation of the rule of law.’
There were also several reactions from within the BJP, including Defense Minister Rajnath Singh Tweeted he welcomes the decision, and it proves justice prevailed however late it may be.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath by welcoming the decision alleged that a conspiracy was planned by then Congress government to defame saints and office bearers of BJP, VHP, and other organizations.
Meanwhile, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, reacting to Babri Masjid Demolition Verdict said: “Today is a sad day in the history of Indian judiciary. Now, the court says there was no conspiracy. Please enlighten me, how many days of months of preparations are required to disqualify an action from being spontaneous?” reports ANI.
All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) secretary Zafaryab Jilani said the judgment pronounced by the special CBI court is wrong and they would appeal against the verdict in the High Court. He was also part of the Babri Action Committee.
Iqbal Ansari, a petitioner in the Babri case, welcomed the CBI court’s decision, stating: “It’s good that this is now over. Let’s all live in peace. Let there be no fresh trouble of this nature. Hindu and Muslim have always lived in peace in Ayodhya.”
Background of Babri Masjid Demolision:
The Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992, by ‘kar sevaks’ who claimed that it was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple. The demolition triggered riots in several parts of India that left nearly 2,000 dead. Following the riot, two cases were filed, (i) related to conspiracy of the demolition, and (ii) other about the instigation of the crowd. The CBI had filed a charge sheet against 49 people in the case, of whom 17 died during the trial.
Several accusations and trails had been held in the last 28 years.
The verdict in the Ayodhya case comes about 11 months after the Supreme Court, in November last year, ruled in favor of building a temple at the 2.77-acre site in Ayodhya.
On August 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked the beginning of the construction.
Reaction of general public:
Generally, the verdict is being seen as another indictment of India’s sluggish and chaotic criminal justice system. Many fear it has been damaged beyond repair by decades of brazen political interference, underfunding, and weak capacity. The verdict is considered as a cut-throat marginalization of India’s 200 million Muslims.
The acquittal comes in the wake of the Supreme Court allotting the disputed Ayodhya site to Hindus for the construction of Ram Mandir. It is believed that this second legal victory for the saffron brigade may add to the worry of the minorities in the country.
Many consider that under PM Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP government, the community had been opposed a lot recently and this is entirely against the pluralist, secular India, which is being hailed as the world’s largest democracy since independence in 1947.