Eighteen years after the 16th century Babri Mosque was pulled down by violent Hindu mobs in the ancient temple town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, a special court in Lucknow will commence the formal trial in the case from Monday.
This follows framing of charges against 23 accused by special court judge V.K. Tyagi on Tuesday, a court official said.
Charges against top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders, including L.K. Advani, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar, were already dropped by the high court few years ago. Amongst the most prominent left on the firing line are former Faizabad district magistrate R.N. Srivastava and mafia don-turned-BJP MP Brij Bhushan Saran Singh.
Most of the remaining accused are VHP activists, who were allegedly directly involved in the events that led to the demolition of the Babri Mosque Dec 6, 1992. The case was handed over to CBI, which had earlier filed the chargesheets against the accused.
According to the court order, besides Singh, charges were framed against Pawan Kumar Pandey, Lalloo Singh, Jai Bhagwan Goel, Sudhir Kakkar, Ram Chandra Khattri, Amar Nath Goel, Santosh Dubey, Prakash Sharma, Jai Bhan Singh Pawaiya, Dharmendra Singh Gujar,Ramji Gupta, Vinay Kumar Rai, Kamlesh Tripathi, Om Prakash Pandey, Gandhi Yadav, Har Govind Singh, Vijay Bahadur Singh and Naveen Bhai Shukla.
Three other accused, including then Faizabad senior superintendent of police D.B. Rai, had died during the pendency of the case.
The special court has fixed Monday for commencement of the trial and recording of statement by witnesses.