Babri judgment sharpens political divide
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday hailed as a “victory of justice and truth” the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court’s verdict acquitting all 32 people accused of conspiring to demolish the16th Century Babri Masjid.
The opposition Congress claimed the ruling ran counter to the Supreme Court’s November 9 judgment, which paved the way for the construction of a Ram temple on the disputed site where the mosque stood, and the Constitutional spirit.
The Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) also urged the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to file an appeal against the special CBI court’s decision to acquit all the accused, including senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, for lack of evidence.
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Addressing reporters at the party headquarters in Delhi, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala noted that the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, in its judgement on November 9 last year, which held that the demolition of the Babri Masjid was a “clear illegality and egregious violation” of the rule of law. “But the special court exonerated all the accused. It is clear that the decision of the special court runs counter to the decision of the Supreme Court.”
Surjewala said the entire nation witnessed a “deep-rooted political conspiracy” by the BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and its leaders to destroy the country’s communal amity and brotherhood through the December 6, 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid, which Hindu groups believe marks the birthplace of the god Ram and claim that the mosque had been built during Mughal rule on the ruins of a temple.
The Congress had hailed the Supreme Court judgement on the construction of the Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya and also the foundation stone laying ceremony on August 5 this year, signalling a major shift in its stand on the issue.
Wednesday’s verdict, which came weeks ahead of the Bihar assembly polls, and by-elections in a clutch of states, including Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, is expected to give the BJP campaign a shot in the arm. Construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya has been a long-standing electoral promise of the BJP.
Soon after the verdict was announced, Advani and Joshi welcomed the decision. but chose to be measured in their response. Uma Bharti is in hospital being treated for Covid-19.
Advani, who watched news of the verdict on television with his daughter Pratibha and staff, said the judgment vindicated his personal and the BJP’s belief and commitment towards the Ram temple movement.
“I also feel blessed that this judgement has come in the footsteps of another landmark verdict of the Supreme Court given in November 2019, which paved the way for my long-cherished dream of seeing a grand Shri Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.”
Joshi said the verdict proved that there was no conspiracy to bring down the mosque. The octogenarian leader said the verdict should also put to rest the controversy over the issue and the entire country should be ready for the construction of a grand Ram temple.
Calling the judgement “obnoxious”, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi said, “This verdict is a black day in the history of Indian courts...was masjid sacrificed on December 6 (1992) by any magic ?... Were the locks opened when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister by magic? That’s why I say that today’s judgement came in contradiction to what the SC said.”
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “Yet another verdict but not justice. It will blemish the image of India as a secular-democratic country governed by the Constitution. The CBI must immediately appeal against this judgment.”
RSS affiliate, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which has been on frontline of the Ram temple movement, said the judgment was a vindication of truth and justice. “Sadly, it has taken 28 years for the Courts to deliver justice...,” said VHP’s international president Alok Kumar.