The 32 survivors out of 49 charged with the alleged pre-planning of the destruction of Babri mosque in the December of 1992 – an incident that left 3,000 dead and changed India’s political landscape forever – were acquitted by a court in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, in a case that has been riding the sands of time for decades.
The demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya was ‘not planned’ and involved “anti-social elements” said the court, referring to the out-of-control mobs who got agitated and climbed the domes of the structure.
The accused include BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar, Joshi and Uma Bharti, who were hit with conspiracy charges in a landmark verdict. Investigating agencies said they delivered speeches that instigated the crowds who had gathered for a temple.
“The accused tried to stop the demolition,” said special judge Surendra Kumar Yadav, adding that merely giving a provocative speech was not enough to prove guilt.
The 16th century mosque was razed by thousands of “Kar Sevaks” who believed it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple that marked the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.
Over the last 28 years, the case has seen many turns. Two were filed in 1992, which eventually grew to 49. The second case, FIR no 198, had named Advani, Joshi and Bharti for promoting religious enmity and provoking rioting.
Later, the Supreme Court asked that criminal conspiracy charges be restored against them.
The Supreme Court also called it “unlawful destruction” and said Muslims had been wrongly deprived of a mosque that was constructed well over 400 years ago.
“It is necessary to provide restitution to the Muslim community for the unlawful destruction of their place of worship,” the top court said, ordering an alternative site in Ayodhya for a mosque.
In a historic ruling in November 2019, the Supreme Court handed over the site claimed by both Hindus and Muslims for the building of a Ram temple.
The initiation ceremony took place earlier this year, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi performing the main rituals.
[Sourced from Agencies]