Babri Masjid Demolition: CBI court to announce charges against Advani, others today
Lucknow: The special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court will announce charges against senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Lal Krishna Advani, on Tuesday in the long-standing case of 16th century Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya.
Earlier on May 26, the court had framed the charges and had fixed May 30 as the date of official announcement of the same.
The other leaders include Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Minister Uma Bharti. The Allahabad High Court had earlier dropped the charges of criminal conspiracy against the politicians. In a bid to meet the two-year deadline for a verdict in the case, the judges of the special CBI court have also ordered daily hearings.
All of them have been asked to be present in the court on May 30 when the charges will be announced. This will be done under the orders of the Supreme Court which opposed the dropping of cases against them by the high court. The charges will be framed under section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code.
Earlier on May 20, 2017, Five of the six accused in the case, including former MP Ram Vilas Vedanti, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders Champat Rai, Baikunth Lal Sharma, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and Dharmdas Maharaj, surrendered in a special CBI court in Lucknow and were subsequently released on bail. The court had issued summons to them.
Satish Pradhan of the Shiv Sena, however, did not appear and is likely to surrender next week. His counsel Manish Tripathi said he was not keeping well.
The senior BJP leader LK Advani had earlier said that he is ready to face conspiracy charges in the demolition case while the Supreme Court had reserved its judgment.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had earlier in the day sought trial against Advani and the pending cases of senior BJP leaders, including Uma Bharati. The CBI had submitted that conspiracy charges against the leaders needed to be restored.
The CBI pleaded before the Supreme Court that 14 persons, including the senior BJP and other leaders, acquitted of the charges under criminal conspiracy, should be tried in Lucknow Court.
The lawyer appearing for the investigative agency argued before the SC, seeking initiation of criminal conspiracy charges against certain BJP leaders including Advani. The CBI also told the apex court that 195 witnesses had already been examined in Lucknow trial court and approximately 300 more were yet to be examined.
The lawyer further said that in Raebareli court, 57 witnesses had already been examined & 100 or more are likely to be examined and the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had upheld lower court order.
What else the CBI stated before the SC:
- There are two FIRs registered against all the accused in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.
- Criminal conspiracy charges were dropped against 21 accused, including several BJP leaders on technical grounds.
In Slide: Timeline of before and after Babri Masjid demolition
The Babri Mosque was razed to grounds 24 years back in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh by Hindu groups, triggering the most violent communal rights, India had ever witnessed and as we enter the 25th year today on December 6, the wounds are still fresh.
Even after 25 years of the incident, the district administration is forced to put the holy town on high-alert because from day 1, i.e. year 1853, the Ram Janam Bhoomi had always been on boil.
1528: A mosque was built at the Ram Janam Bhoomi (birth place of Lord Ram).
1853: First incident of communal violence between Hindus and Muslims was recorded.
1859: A fence was built on the orders of British colonial administration, separating the places of worship for Muslims and Hindus.
1949: Hindus had allegedly placed idol of Lord Ram inside the Mosque, triggering massive protest by Muslims. A civil suit was filed from both the sides. The government proclaims the premises a disputed area and locks the gates.
1984: Vishwa Hindu Parishad party (VHP) was formed to free the birth place of Lord Ram. VHP also planned to build a temple in his honour. The campaign was helmed by BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani.
1986: District judge passed an order to unlock the gates of Babri Mosque to allow Hindus to worship. A Babri Mosque Action Committee was formed by Muslims to protest the court’s order.
1989: VHP laid the foundation stone of a Ram temple on land adjacent to the disputed mosque.
1990: VHP volunteers partially damaged the mosque. Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar tried to resolve the dispute through negotiations but his efforts went in vain.
1991: Change of government and BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh.
1992: VHP supporters (Shiv Sena and BJP) demolished the Mosque. A nationwide protest was observed that left behind over 2000 people dead.
1998: A coalition government was formed by BJP under Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
2001: VHP pledged again to build Hindu temple at the site on the Babri demolition anniversary.
January 2002: PM Atal Behari Vajpayee constituted an Ayodhya cell in his office and appointed a senior official, Shatrughna Singh to hold talks with Hindu and Muslim leaders.
February 2002: VHP kept a deadline of March 15 to begin construction of Ram Temple. Hundreds of volunteers were gathered on the construction site. A train carrying Hindu activists from Ayodhya was attacked in Godhra in Gujarat, killing at least 58 people.
March 2002: Gujarat observed communal riots after the train attack, killing between 1,000 to 2,000 people, mostly Muslims.
April 2002: Three High Court judges begin hearings on determining who owns the religious site.
January 2003: Archaeologists begin a court-ordered survey to find out whether a temple to Lord Ram existed on the site.
August 2003: Survey said that a temple do exists beneath the Mosque but Muslims refuted it. Vajpayee was committed to build Ram Mandir at the disputed land and openly announced it at the funeral of Hindu activist Ramchandra Das Paramhans.
September 2003: A court rules that seven Hindu leaders should stand trial for inciting the destruction of the Babri Mosque, but no charges are brought against Advani, who was also at the site in 1992.
October 2004: Advani says his party still has “unwavering” commitment to building a temple at Ayodhya.
November 2004: A court in UP ruled to review an earlier order which exonerated Advani for his role in the demolition of the mosque.
July 2005: Suspected Islamic militants attacked the disputed site, using a vehicle with explosives. Security forces gunned down five people they say are militants, and a sixth who was not immediately identified.
June 2009: The Liberhan commission investigating events leading up to the mosque’s demolition submits its report – 17 years after it began its inquiry.
November 2009: There was uproar in parliament as the commission blamed leading politicians from the Hindu nationalist BJP for a role in the destruction of mosque.
September 2010: Allahabad High Court rules that the site should be split, with the Muslim community getting control of a third, Hindus another third and the Nirmohi Akhara sect the remainder. Control of the main disputed section, where the mosque was torn down, is given to Hindus. A lawyer for the Muslim community said he will appeal.
May 2011: Supreme Court suspends High Court ruling after Hindu and Muslim groups appeal against the 2010 verdict. The two judge bench of Supreme Court remarked that the HC verdict was surprising as no party wanted a split of the site.