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Home / News / India /  Babri Masjid demolition: The twists and turns in the criminal case

NEW DELHI: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Lucknow is set to deliver today its verdict in the criminal case related to the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.

Among the 32 accused facing trial are prominent political leaders such as veteran Bharatiya Janta Party leader Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh and former Union minister Uma Bharti, and sitting MPs Brij Bhushan Singh and Sakshi Maharaj.

The trial court Judge Surya Kant Yadav in 16 September, the last date of hearing, had asked the accused persons to be present in court on the day of pronouncement of judgment, that is 30 September.

In relation to the Babri Masjid demolition, a civil case ran parallel to the criminal case, to ascertain the ownership of the disputed land in Ayodhya where the incident occurred. In a unanimous and historic verdict, the Supreme Court on 9 November settled the long-winding Ayodhya land dispute by allowing Hindus to build a Ram temple on the land while sanctioning Muslims 5 acres to build a mosque in the temple town.

The verdict was pronounced by a five-judge constitution bench headed by former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, bringing an end to a 70-year-old land dispute. The court had directed that the disputed 2.7-acre land be handed over to a trust formed by the central government.

On 5 August, the foundation stone of the Ram Janambhoombhi temple was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In December 1993, two FIRs were filed. One against eminent BJP leaders for allegedly giving ‘communal’ speeches before demolition of Babri Masjid, and the other against unknown karsevaks for demolition of the mosque.

This case witnessed a series of twists and turns where the trial court dropped charges in 2001 on technical grounds and the CBI challenging it in the high court . The case continued from one court to another until the top court in 2017 restored all criminal charges against the BJP leaders and clubbed the cases.

In April 2017, the apex court not only revived the 25-year-old trial in the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid criminal dispute by allowing fresh charges of criminal conspiracy against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and 13 others, it also directed the transfer of cases from a court in Rae Bareilly to a special court in Lucknow that was also hearing certain cases related to the demolition issue.

Additionally, the court directed the special judge to complete the trial in two years which was fixed as April 2019. Subsequently, the top court extended the deadline for the special court to complete the trial several times, with the last extension given on August 19.

Interestingly, amid the case being appealed from one court to another, in June 2009, the Justice MS Liberhan commission that was formed by the Congress-led government in 1992, submitted its report where it had investigated the events leading to the mosque’s demolition. It held 68 people, mostly BJP leaders, responsible for the incident. The report observed that the demolition was planned, systematic, and was the intended outcome of a climate of communal intolerance deliberately created by religious extremists.

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