The 28-year-old case of Babri Masjid demolition, an incident that changed India’s political landscape, is finally meandering to a closure, as the special CBI court in Lucknow is set to pronounce its judgement on September 30.
Judge SK Yadav has directed all accused to remain present in the court on the day of judgment.
Among the 32 accused, most are from the ruling BJP, including former deputy prime minister L K Advani and former ministers M M Joshi and two former Chief Ministers Kalyan Singh (UP) and Uma Bharti (MP).
Advani, Joshi and Bharti are accused of conspiracy that allegedly led to the demolition of the 15th century mosque on December 6, 1992, at the hands of hundreds of activists from Hindutva outfits. Kalyan Singh was the chief minister of UP at that time.
Advani (92), Joshi ( 86), Singh (88) and others have denied all charges against them. Kalyan Singh's government was dismissed after riots broke out across the country post-demolition, in which around 3,000 people died.
The court had framed several charges against Singh, including promoting enmity between groups, public mischief and assertions prejudicial to national integration. He enjoyed immunity and was exempted from day to day hearing till his tenure as Governor of Rajasthan ended last year.
He had joined the BJP soon after exiting the Raj Bhavan. Later, he was released on bail on a personal bond of Rs2 lakh.
What happened on 6 December
The Hindutva outfits have claimed that the mosque was built after pulling down an ancient Hindu temple at the birthplace of deity Ram. A big movement was built around this narrative and spearheaded by Advani and others.
Hundreds of Hindutva activists from across India had gathered in Ayodhya that fateful day. Speeches of the prime accused allegedly provoked the supporters into attacking the Babri mosque, razing down the controversial structure. The then disputed structure spread over 3.67 acres of land was claimed by Hindu and Muslims both and was under litigation since 1950.
In November 2019, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark verdict in the title suit of that land, ordering the construction of a temple at the site. The court had also directed the government to provide five acres of land to Muslims in Ayodhya for the mosque.
Last day of deadline: The verdict is being delivered on the last day of the deadline stipulated by the apex court. In April 2017, the Supreme Court had asked the special court to conduct day-to-day hearings and complete the trial within two years. It was given several extensions thereafter and when the special judge SK Yadav asked for more time, the court extended the deadline to September 30.