Allahabad HC scraps plea against acquittal of Babri demolition accused
The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday scrapped a plea that challenged the acquittal of 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case including BJP veterans LK Advani, Uma Bharti, MM Joshi, and Kalyan Singh, among others. A Lucknow bench of justices Ramesh Sinha and Saroj Yadav observed that the acquittal — pronounced two years ago — was maintainable.
Why does this story matter?
- In December 1992, hundreds of kar sevaks arrived in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, to raze down the over 450-year-old Barbi Masjid, claiming it was built on the ruins of a temple where Lord Rama took human form.
- Following the demolition, India witnessed widespread Hindu-Muslim riots, which killed hundreds.
- Last year, the Supreme Court granted the property to Hindus, allowing the construction of the Ram Temple.
Strangers can't challenge verdict: CBI, UP government
The plea was filed by Ayodhya residents, Haji Mahmood Ahmad and Syed Akhlaq Ahmad, who claimed to be witnesses in the case against the accused. Objecting to the plea, the UP government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) asserted that the appellants were neither the complainants nor the victims in the case, implying that they couldn't appeal against the verdict as a stranger.
Court had rejected the evidence presented
After hearing the arguments of both parties, the bench has reserved its order on October 31. Earlier, the trial judge had refused to accept newspaper cuttings and video clips as evidence as the original of the same weren't produced, despite the case depending on the very documentary evidence. The appellants argued that the trial court's decision was erroneous as sufficident evidence was on record.
BJP was accused of fanning religious tensions
The demolition, although helped BJP gain a political foothold, also invited flak for the party. The saffron party was accused of flaming religious tensions and looking the other way when its leaders made hate-filled comments. Besides Advani and Joshi, renowned leaders like Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh, and Vinay Katiyar were also named as accused. Earlier, Bharti had commented she doesn't fear punishment.
Advani was asked over 100 questions, he denied accusations
The proceedings in this sensitive matter lasted months, with the accused being questioned for hours at stretch. In July, 92-year-old Advani was asked over 100 questions, but he denied all the charges. The statements of all accused were recorded under CrPC Section 313. On September 1, the defense submitted written arguments. A week prior to that, the prosecution had also submitted its arguments.