The Supreme Court reinstated criminal conspiracy charges against BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti in the Babri masjid demolition case.
The CBI had petitioned the court for restoring criminal conspiracy charges against the senior BJP leaders for the demolition of the Mughal-era mosque on December 6, 1992. The incident sparked one of India’s worst communal riots that left more than 3,000 people dead.
The Ayodhya structure was demolished by supporters of the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) over a belief that Hindu god Ram was born at the spot where Babur, the first Mughal emperor, had built the mosque.
Here is how the situation progressed:
1:55pm: BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad defends party leaders, says they are behind LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and others.
1:50pm: “This country belongs to the cow, Ganga, Ram and the tricolour. I will defend them if they are insulted,” Uma Bharti says as she ends the press conference.
1:45pm: “Why should I regret it. I was involved in the Ayodhya incident. I remain unrepentant.”
1:40pm: I want to tell the country it’s time for the Ram Mandir to be built. There is no conspiracy. Yes, I was there in Ayodhya on December 6... I’m not one of those who are glued to power: Uma Bharti
1:35pm: Union water resources minister Uma Bharti holds a press conference: She says there was no conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case... “For Ayodhya, for Ganga, for the tricolour, I’m ready to bear any sentence... Why should I resign.”
Bharti turns the allegations against Congress on the emergency when asked if she will resign on the Opposition party’s demand.
“The (Babri Masjid) case is yet to conclude. I’m have not yet pronounced guilty.”
“For Ram Mandir, I’m ready to leave even Indra’s seat, not just a ministerial seat.”
1:19pm: Congress leader Kapil Sibal speaks on the verdict: “It is a substantial step forward in the cause of justice. It means the majesty of law has been upheld... I’m happy about that.”
12:50pm: BJP reacts to the SC order, says the party will study the verdict in detail: ANI quotes Sambit Patra as saying.
12pm: After the SC directive, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut says the government should withdraw the chargesheet. “How can on one hand you do this and then talk of building Ram Mandir?”
BJP was elected to Uttar Pradesh earlier this year, with construction of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya one of its primary poll planks.
11:15am: Congress welcomes the SC ruling though it says it is delayed. “It is little late in the day but nevertheless satisfying to note that the law will be taking its own course,” says Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
11:10am: Others who will face criminal conspiracy charges are Vinay Katiyar,Sadhvi Ritambara,Satish Pradhan,Champat Rai Bansal and Late Giriraj Kishore, reports ANI
11am: CBI shall ensure that on every hearing, there is a prosecution witness. The case cannot be adjourned for want of a witness: SC
10:55am: The apex court says the trial judge hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case shall not be moved out until he completes the trial in two years.
10:50am: BJP leader Kalyan Singh is protected from facing trial as he is a governor, but charges will be framed against him once ceases to be the governor.
Kalyan Singh is the governor of Rajasthan.
10:45am: The Babri Masjid case will be transferred to Lucknow court from Rae Bareli within four weeks, directs SC.
10:35am: The top court revives the charges 16 years after they were dropped by a Lucknow court on technical grounds. The BJP leaders are already being tried for making inflammatory speeches that provoked the ‘kar sevaks’ to pull down the mosque. The trial is being held in Rae Bareli.
(With inputs from agencies)