Nearly 28 years after the Babri Mosque was demolished in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, the special CBI Court will pronounce the verdict in the criminal case on September 30.
The incident which was called “an egregious violation of the rule of law” by the Supreme Court, took place on December 6, 1992. The CBI court will announce the verdict that includes 32 accused in the case, including former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani, former Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh, senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Sakshi Maharaj, and others.
The FIR was lodged by the then Superintendent of Police Priyamvada Nath Shukla and Sub Inspector Gangaprasad Tiwari of Ramjanmabhoomi police station. Apart from this, 47 FIRs were filed by journalists, photographers and activists, all the cases were later referred to the CBI. The first charge sheet in the case was filed on October 5, 1993, against 49 accused, of which 17 have already died. And during this period, the CBI produced 351 witnesses and 600 documentary evidence.
However, the court began writing the verdict from September 2 and has ordered all the accused to appear in the court on September 30. One of the prime accused, Uma Bharti had recently tested positive for Covid-19, so she will not be present in person for the verdict.
Who Were the Key Figures in the Babri Demolition Case?
Politicing the ‘door-opening decision’ of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, started a 10,000 Km Rath Yatra, furthering the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Karsevaks from across the country joined the mega movement. According to the original CBI charge sheet, LK Advani was the main architect of the 'conspiracy' to demolish the disputed Babri Masjid.
The former president of the VHP, late Ashok Singhal was also one of the prime accused in the case. As per the charge sheet, on November 20, 1992, Ashok Singhal met the then Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and invited him to participate in Karseva. After this, on December 4, Thackeray directed the party workers- Shiv Sainiks to go to Ayodhya and actively participate in the movement. As per the charge sheet, Singhal is accused of shouting slogans- 'Ram Lala Hum Aaya Hain, Mandir Wahi Banayenge’ and ‘Ek Dhakka Aur Do Babri Masjid Tod Do’ on the stage from Ram Katha Kunj.
Along with Advani and Singhal, another active member in the case is former JP MP Vinay Katiyar. When the VHP formed the Bajrang Dal to give an edge to the Ram temple movement, its command was handed over to the young Katiyar and it is said that Bajrang Dal workers made the movement ‘fiery’. According to the CBI charge sheet, Katiyar had said in his speech on December 6, 1992, “The enthusiasm of our Bajrangis has surpassed even that of a storm, which will demolish all the Babri mosques.”
Former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi is also an accused in this case. According to the charge sheet, Joshi was also present in the demolition. As mentioned in the charge sheet, Uma Bharti shared joy with Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi when the mosque’s dome was brought down by the Karsevaks.
The list of accused also includes the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister of Kalyan Singh. He has been accused of preventing the police administration from acting on the furious karsevaks. Singh is among the 13 accused in the original chargesheet of being involved in the ‘conspiracy’ to demolish the mosque.
The Librehan Commission had found Uma Bharti’s role in the Babri demolition as faulty. Bharti however, denied the allegations of inciting the mob, but she has also said that she has no regrets and she is ready to take moral responsibility for the demolition.