Home / Politics / News /  Babri Masjid demolition: Special court to pronounce verdict today

NEW DELHI : The fate of senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders -- former deputy prime minister LK Advani, former Union minister Murli Manohar Joshi, former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Uma Bharti --will be decided by a special CBI court in Lucknow on Wednesday in the Babri Masjid demolition cases.

The founder-president of Bajrang Dal Vinay Katiyar, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh and general secretary of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust Champat Rai which was constituted for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, have been named among the 32 accused by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in case.

The special CBI court has asked all the 32 accused, including Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharti to be present in the court on 30 September. While Bharti has tested positive of covid-19, Advani and Joshi have health concerns because of their old age and pandemic. It is not known if they will be present in the court. The earlier deadline set by the Supreme Court for the special CBI court to pronounce verdict was August-end. It was later extended by a month.

“I am admitted at the AIIMS Rishikesh where I will stay for at least 17 days more. Then I will under home isolation for some time before restarting my meetings with people," tweeted Bharti on Tuesday. Kalyan Singh, during whose tenure as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Babri Masjid was demolished, was put on trial in September last year after his tenure as governor (of Rajasthan) came to an end.

While the dispute over Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid had continued for long, it took a turning point in December 1992 when the mosque was razed to the ground by supporters of the VHP, the Shiv Sena and the BJP, prompting nationwide communal riots between Hindus and Muslims in which thousands died.

However, the Supreme Court, in November 2019, settled the long-festering Ayodhya dispute by allowing Hindus to build a Ram temple on the disputed land while sanctioning Muslims five acres to build a mosque in the temple town.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has produced 351 witnesses and about 600 documents as evidence before the court. Charges were framed against 48 people, but 17 died during the course of the trial. With the Supreme Court setting August 31 as the deadline and later extending it by a month for the CBI court to give its verdict, the trial court started day-to-day hearing to complete the task in time.

According to a report of Press Trust of India (PTI), Advani had recorded his statement on 24 July before the court through video conferencing while former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh said that the allegations against him were politically motivated.

The trial under the serious criminal conspiracy charges commenced against all the accused after it was dropped by the trial court in 2001. The verdict was upheld by the Allahabad High Court in 2010, but the apex court ordered restoration of the conspiracy charge against all of them on 19 April, 2017. The top court ordered daily hearing in the high profile case and directed the special judge to conclude it in two years.

(PTI contributed to the story)

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