Special CBI Judge Hon’ble Justice Surendra Kumar Yadav delivered the verdict in the much-awaited Babri Masjid demolition case today i.e., September 30th, 2020. This verdict as delivered after 28 years. almost three decades ago, the 16th Century structure of the Babri Masjid was razed by a mob in the Ayodhya town of Uttar Pradesh.
The key accused comprises of former deputy prime minister LK Advani, former Union ministers MM Joshi and Uma Bharti, and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh. However, most of these senior leaders were not physically present in the Lucknow Court but attended the proceedings via video conference.
There were a total of 32 accused persons in this case, and they were charged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as IPC,1860) like criminal conspiracy under Section 120A, IPC,1860; rioting under Section 146, IPC,1860; promoting enmity between different groups under Section 153 A, IPC, 1860, and unlawful assembly under Section 141, IPC, 1860.
Justice SK Yadav began the court proceedings at around 12.30 PM and read the operative part of the verdict to state that, “the demolition was not pre-planned”. the judge acquitted all the accused and said, “Ashok Singhal and other Sangh Parivar leaders wanted to save the structure as Ram Lalla statues were inside”.
The Court could also not find any conclusive proof against the accused. It is significant to note that 351 witnesses and 600 documents as evidence was presented by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before the CBI Court during the trial. However, Justice Yadav refused to admit the videos produced, as he held that the videos were tampered with. In a similar fashion, photographs submitted by the CBI were also not admitted on failure to produce the negatives of the same. Agreeing with the defense, the judge stated that the provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 were not followed by the defense.
“Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath welcomed the CBI special court verdict. “Satyamev Jayate,” he tweeted before going on to accuse the then Congress government of acting with political bias, indulging in vote bank politics and defaming BJP leaders, saints, VHP leaders, and various social organizations by lodging false cases. “The people involved in the conspiracy (over Babri demolition ) should apologize to people of the country,” he said.”
Brij Bhushan Singh, BJP MP from Kaisenrgank, UP welcomed the judgment by stating that, “Everyone present in the court was relaxed, as all were expecting this outcome. The prosecution didn't have evidence. This is a welcome judgment.” The spokesperson of VHP, Sharad Sharma that while there were no big celebrations planned, it was a big day. He also said that the accused have been acquitted finally, highlighting that it took time.
LK Advani stated that “I wholeheartedly welcome the judgment by the Special Court in Babri Masjid demolition case. The judgment vindicates my personal and BJP's belief and commitment toward the Ram Janmabhoomi movement:”