All 32 accused have been acquitted in the Babri Masjid case according to the verdict given by Judge SK Yadav today. The verdict was given by a CBI Special Court in Lucknow, 28 years after a mob of Hindu karsevaks illegally demolished the historic site of worship.
The 32 accused included BJP-RSS leaders had been charged with instigating violence through speeches which incited the mob to demolish the Babri Masjid in 1992, especially in LK Advani’s rath yatras. These included LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Ashok Singhal, Vinay Katiyar, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmia, Uma Bharati, and Sadhvi Ritambhara. Others were named in an FIR against the karsevaks who conducted the demolition itself.
The verdict, delivered under high security outside public access in the court flanked by 1000 police personnel including from anti-terrorism squads, acquitted all 32 accused. The Court said that the CBI had not presented enough evidence to prove that the VHP and RSS leaders had conspired to instigate violence. The verdict said that the violence was not pre-planned and was carried out by ‘mischievous elements’.
The court acquitted the Babri Masjid accused of all the charges, on the following grounds:
Section 120B – could not be established since there was no evidence that the accused sat together to plan the demolition.
Section 153 – inciting slogans and speeches could not be proven.
Section 295 – no desecration of religious place since Muslims were not using the place to offer namaz for years.
Section 149 – no unlawful assembly established since Section 144 was not in place when ‘kar sevaks’ demolished the structure.
Section 395 – dacoity could not be established since no one saw the accused run away with inscriptions and other allegedly stolen artefacts
The court said that the audio and video of the speeches in which violence was instigated was not reliable and could be doctored, and dismissed the photographic evidence because the CBI had not furnished the original negative images. Those who climbed the dome of the Babri Masjid, were “anti-social” elements, according to the verdict, and did not prove the involvement of the VHP.