'Jai Shri Ram,' Advani welcomes his acquittal in Babri case
Veteran BJP leader LK Advani on Wednesday reacted to his acquittal in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The 92-year-old said that he chanted "Jai Shri Ram" after the verdict, which "vindicated his commitment toward the Ram temple movement." A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court had acquitted all 32 accused in the 1992 demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
In a statement after the verdict, Advani said, "The judgment vindicates my personal and the BJP's belief and commitment toward the Ram Janmabhoomi movement." He described the ruling as a "moment of happiness for all of us," adding that he "wholeheartedly welcomed the significant judgment."
Announcing the verdict, Special Judge Surendra Kumar Yadav said on Wednesday that there was not enough evidence to show the demolition was pre-planned. The court also asserted that the authenticity of audio and video provided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) couldn't be ascertained. As he gave a clean chit to the accused, he noted that anti-social elements brought down the mosque.
In December 1992, hundreds of karsewaks arrived in Ayodhya to raze the Babri mosque. The demolition led to widespread Hindu-Muslim riots across India. Two cases were filed, one pertaining to a conspiracy in the demolition, and another alleging the instigation of right-wing activists. 49 people were booked, but 17 have died. The accused included BJP veterans Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and Uma Bharti.
Advani spoke about the Supreme Court's 2019 judgment which paved the way for the construction of a Ram temple where the Babri mosque had once stood. The ruling had ended the decades-long dispute wherein members of the Hindu faith believed that the Babri mosque stood on the birthplace of Lord Rama and that the mosque was constructed on the remains of an ancient temple.
Advani said, "I also feel blessed that this judgment has come in the footsteps of another landmark verdict of the Supreme Court given in November 2019, which paved the way for my long-cherished dream of seeing a grand Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, the foundation-laying ceremony of which was held on August 5." He said he looks forward to the temple's construction.