Babri Masjid demolition verdict today: LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti among key accused

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Murli Manohar Joshi, LK Advani [Image: Indian Express]
Murli Manohar Joshi, LK Advani [Image: Indian Express]

New Delhi : After 28 years, a special court in Lucknow will pronounce its judgment in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case on Wednesday, September 30. The demolition that had triggered riots in many parts of the country that left nearly 2,000 dead. The court has directed all the accused to remain present in the court.

Among the 32 accused are senior BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Sakshi Maharaj, Brij Bhushan Saran Singh and Uma Bharti. 

However, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh are admitted in hospitals with Covid-19, it is unlikely they will be present in the court at the time of pronouncement of order.

While BJP veterans LK Advani, 92 and Murli Manohar Joshi, 86 will not be present when a court in Uttar Pradesh announces its judgment in the Babri mosque case today, as they have reportedly sought an exemption.

The court will rule whether the BJP leaders and the others accused instigated thousands of Hindu activists or "Kar Sewaks" to bring down the Babri mosque, believing it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram.

Notably, Uma Bharti, wrote to BJP Chief JP Nadda that she would not seek bail even if she was convicted. "It does not matter to me what the judgement will be. If I am sent to the gallows, I will be blessed. The place where I was born will be happy," Bharti told NDTV.

Over nearly three decades, there have been many twists and turns in the case. The CBI first filed conspiracy charges against the top BJP leaders and then dropped it.

In 2017, the Supreme Court asked special CBI judge SK Yadav to conduct day-to-day hearings. He was supposed to announce his verdict by 2019 but it was delayed.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened in and around the court as well as in different parts in the state in view of the verdict.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked states to be extra vigilant to ensure that no untoward incident takes place and maintain law and order. 

The MHA has asked the states to keep an extra vigil in communally-sensitive areas and districts as it fears that the extremist may use the verdict to fuel tension.

Issuing an alert, the MHA said some radical groups may attempt to drive a wedge between two groups of people and look for an opportunity to revive the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act movement if the verdict goes against a particular community. 

State police forces have also been asked to keep a close watch on social media.