Monday, May 20, 2024

Advani along with 32 others acquitted in Babri Masjid demolition case

BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, along with 32 accused, were acquitted by a judge in Uttar Pradesh who said the Babri Masjid demolition was not planned.

The 28-year-old case arrived at a verdict today in a special court in Lucknow.

On December 6, 1992, unused Babri Masjid was brought down by Hindu activists.

Advani, 92, Murli Manohar Joshi, 86, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh were not present in court but joined via video link.

Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh are among the 32 surviving accused in the case; they were charged with criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity. They were allegedly on the dais near the mosque at the time of its demolition. The charge was that they had instigated the crowd with their speeches.

It was Kalyan Singh who was then the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. His government was thereafter dismissed.

Earlier, Uma Bharti had written to BJP chief JP Nadda that she would not seek bail if she was convicted in the case. She is presently in a hospital in Uttarakhand after testing Covid-19 positive.

Advani had recorded his statement on July 24 through a video conference with a special CBI court. He had been posed with 100 questions. Joshi had done his own statement a day before. Both of them had denied the charges against them.

The case has seen many ups and downs in these long 28 years. Initially there were two cases filed in 1992.It gradually expanded to 49. The second case, FIR no 198, had named Advani, Joshi and Bharti, accusing them of promoting religious enmity and provoking rioting.

In 1993, the CBI had filed a charge sheet against 48 people which included Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray and Kalyan Singh.

The cases against Advani, Joshi and Bharti moved from Lalitpur to Rae Bareli to Lucknow after an order by the Supreme Court. It also ordered that criminal conspiracy charges be restored against them.

In a landmark verdict in November, the Supreme Court ordered the construction of a temple at the site where the 16th century mosque once stood. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at the “bhoomi pujan” ceremony which was held earlier this year.

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