NEW DELHI – On Wednesday the Supreme Court of India ordered veterans of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to face trial for their role in a criminal conspiracy to destroy Babri mosque.
The Supreme Court stated that the trial will be held in the northern city of Lucknow and should be concluded in a period of two years. A lower court had earlier dropped conspiracy charges against senior party leaders including LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti but the latest ruling has restored the charges, which can potentially prove problematic for these veterans figures.
Kalyan Singh, who was the chief minister of Utter Pradesh at the time of incident, has been given immunity as he currently serves as Rajasthan Governor and so can only be tried after he leaves office.
In addition, the trial judge hearing the Babri mosque case shall not be transferred till the judgement is delivered as per the verdict given by the Supreme Court.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) argued before the court that it has evidence that the leaders, who made their speeches on a stage near the mosque on the day that it was razed, were part of a plan to bring down the mosque and that they should, therefore, be tried along with about 20 others in Lucknow who are charged with the actual destruction of the mosque.
The demolition of the mosque came after a movement was led in part by Mr Advani seeking a temple to be built on the same spot where the masjid was constructed by the Mughals. Many Hindus believe that the mosque was built over the birthplace of Lord Ram and so they wanted a temple to be built there.
The razing of the mosque on December 6, 1992 led to religious riots across India that left at least 2,000 people dead. The case has been languishing in India’s legal system for almost 25 years.