15 years on... no end to legal battle | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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15 years on... no end to legal battle

lucknow Updated: Dec 06, 2007 14:02 IST
M Hasan

Fifteen years have not ended the litigation battle over the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court and the Rae Bareli district court are still hearing two cases against the demolition of the mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. There are also four civil title suits pending with the Lucknow bench. The first civil suit was filed on January 16, 1950, the last on July 1, 1989. There are two other cases in which the Sunni Waqf Board has claimed right to the disputed land on which the mosque, built by emperor Babar in the 16th century, stood. All 4 cases were filed in the Faizabad district court but transferred to Lucknow later. So far, oral evidence has been admitted in the Waqf board cases. There are other unresolved angles in the Babri puzzle, like a report by the Archaeological Survey of India, which was asked to find out more about the disputed land and structure. The ASI submitted a report, which was challenged by Muslim organisations for mentioning that its team had found “distinctive features associated with... temples of north India”.

Case file

Two criminal cases were filed after demolition of mosque.

Case 197, dealing with karsevaks, is pending in Lucknow.

Case 198 against BJP and Hindutva leaders is in Rae Bareli court.

Lucknow bench also has before it ASI report on archaeological status of disputed site.

Title suits: Four of them, all before Lucknow bench.

The day and after

December 6, 1992: Kar sevaks bring down masjid as Hindutva leaders chant "ek dhakka aur do"; central rule imposed in UP as over 130 homes of Muslims torched in Ayodhya alone.

Demolition sparks riots in several places but most devastating backlash in Mumbai, where 900 are killed in riots between December 1992 and January 1993.

On March 12, 1993, 13 blasts rock Mumbai, killing over 250 people.

Of the two criminal cases filed by the CBI, case 197 is against kar sevaks, believed to be directly involved in bringing the structure down. But the Lucknow bench stayed the proceeding in this case after the submission of two revision petitions by the Faizabad district magistrate and the CBI. The second case, No. 198, deals with the demolition conspiracy. The case names BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, VHP leader Ashok Singhal, Uma Bharti and others. This case is in the Rae Bareli court, which on December 4, 2006, allowed the CBI to go ahead with its investigation.

Advani was cleared of all charges by the Rae Bareli court in 2003, but when the Congress-led govt came to power, the case against him was reopened.

The CBI did not present evidence in this case as it was waiting for an apex court order. Hearing in the Rae Bareli court has now commenced. The first evidence, that of Hanuman Prasad, was recorded in chief judicial magistrate in the Rae Bareli court on Wednesday. CBI advocate K.P. Singh produced witness Prasad who was posted as a clerk at the Ramjanmabhoomi police station on December 6, 1992, and had written the FIR. Prasad verified the signature of Ganga Prasad, who was the then incharge of the police post. The next hearing has been scheduled for December 13.