19 April 2017

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Babri case SC restores criminal conspiracy charges against Advani and other BJP leaders

Babri Demolition case SC restores criminal conspiracy charges against Advani and other BJP leaders

Babri Masjid demolition case: The issue dates back to 1992, when hundreds of karsevaks demolished the 16th century mosque in Ayodhya amid claims that it was built on the birthplace of Lord Rama

Today the Supreme Court restored the charges of criminal conspiracy against senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others in connection to the Babri Mosque demolition case
Others who will face criminal conspiracy charges are Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambara, Satish Pradhan, Champat Rai Bansal and Late Giriraj Kishore as per media reports.

Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh has been spared, for now. Singh enjoys constitutional immunity since he is a governor but charges will be framed against him once he ceases to hold the position, the court has said. Singh was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister when the Babri mosque was brought down on December 6, 1992 by a mob of kar sevaks.

The Supreme court revives the charges 16 years after they were dropped by a Lucknow court on technical grounds.

 Supreme Court pronounced the judgement, ordering the separate trials being conducted in trial courts at Rae Bareli and Lucknow to be clubbed and conducted in the capital of Uttar Pradesh only, and directed it to be completed in two years.

There were two sets of cases relating to the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992. The first involved unnamed 'karsevaks', the trial of which is taking place in a Lucknow court, while the second set of cases relate to the VVIPs in a Rae Bareli court.

The conspiracy charge against 13 accused including Advani, Joshi and Bharti was dropped in the case, the trial of which is being held at a special court in Rae Bareli.

The second set of case was against unknown 'karsevaks' who were in and around the disputed structure and pulled it down. The trial against them is being held in a Lucknow court.
The appeals were filed by one Haji Mahboob Ahmad (since dead) and the CBI against dropping of conspiracy charges against 21 accused including the top BJP leaders. Eight of them have died.

A supplementary chargesheet was filed against eight persons but not the 13 who were discharged for plotting the demolition.

Besides BJP leaders Advani, Joshi and Bharti, conspiracy charges were dropped against Kalyan Singh (currently the Governor of Rajasthan), Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore (both have since died).

The others against whom the conspiracy charge was dropped include
1-Vinay Katiyar
2-Vishnu Hari Dalmiya
3-Satish Pradhan
4-C R Bansal
5-Ashok Singhal (now deceased)
6-Sadhvi Ritambhara
7-Mahant Avaidhynath (now deceased)
8-R V Vedanti, Paramhans
9-Ram Chandra Das (now deceased)
10-Jagdish Muni Maharaj
11-B L Sharma
12-Nritya Gopal Das
13-Dharam Das
14-Satish Nagar
15-Moreshwar Save (now deceased)

The appeals have sought setting aside the Allahabad High Court's order of May 20, 2010, dropping section 120B (criminal conspiracy) under the IPC while upholding a special court's decision.

CBI had charged Advani and 20 others under sections 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumors etc. circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace) of the IPC. It had subsequently invoked charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC which was quashed by the special court whose decision was upheld by the high court.

Supreme Court ruled that there will be no fresh trial because of framing of conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders. However, Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh, who enjoys Constitutional immunity, can be tried only after he ceases to hold the office.

Supreme court said the trial will proceed on a day-to-day basis and on no grounds, it will be adjourned. It further stated that the judges presiding over the case will not be transferred till the trial is concluded and judgment has been pronounced.

It also directed CBI to ensure that prosecution witnesses appear on each and every date for recording of evidence in the case and the trial court should start the proceedings within four weeks from this date.

Time line of Babri Mosque Demolition Case –
1853-The Babri mosque dates back nearly 500 years when it was built in Ayodhya by Mir Baqi, a commander of the first Mughal emperor Babur, in 1528. Hence the mosque's name, Babri Masjid.

1859: The British colonial administration erects a fence at the site to separate the places of worship. While the Muslims are allowed to use the inner court, the Hindus are allowed the outer court.

1885: In January 1885, Mahant Raghubir Das files the first case, seeking permission to build a canopy on the Ramchabutra (a raised platform) outside the mosque. The plea is rejected by the Faizabad district court.

1949: Towards the end of December 1949, idols of Lord Ram appeared inside the mosque, allegedly put there by Hindus. It led to widespread protests and both communities filed cases, Hashim Ansari for Muslims and Mahant Paramhans Ramchandra Das for Hindus. The government declared the site as disputed and locked the gates to it.

1950: Mahant Paramhans Ramchandra Das, the chief of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, and Gopal Singh Visharad filed suits in Faizabad, seeking permission to pray before the installed idols. The puja was allowed though the inner courtyard gates remain locked.

1959: Nirmohi Akhara, one of the main parties to the dispute, and others filed a case and sought permission again to conduct prayers.

1961: Sunni Central Board of Waqfs in Uttar Pradesh filed a case claiming the mosque, and argued that the surrounding area was a graveyard.

1984: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad constituted a group to continue the movement as BJP leader L K Advani was made the leader of the campaign.

1986: A district court orders that the gates of the mosque be opened and Hindus be allowed to worship there, on a plea by Hari Shankar Dubey. As Muslims protest the move to allow Hindus to pray in the mosque, a Babri Mosque Action Committee is formed.

1989: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) lays the foundation of a Ram temple on the land next to the Babri Masjid. Justice Deoki Nandan Agarwal, former VHP Vice-President, files a case asking for the mosque to be shifted elsewhere. Four suits that have been pending at the Faizabad court are transferred to a special bench of the High Court.

1990: Volunteers of the VHP partially damage the mosque. PM Chandrashekhar intervenes and tries to resolve the issue through negotiations, but these fail.

September 25,1990: Advani launched a rath yatra (pilgrimage procession) from Somnath to Ayodhya to galvanise support for the issue countrywide.

November 1990: Advani’s rath was stopped and he was arrested in Samastipur, Bihar. Dissatisfied with the development, the BJP withdrew its support to the VP Singh government, triggering fresh elections.

1991: BJP becomes the primary opposition party, comes into power in Uttar Pradesh.
The momentum for the temple movement increases as karsevaks (volunteers) pour into Ayodhya.

1992: The disputed Babri Mosque is razed to the ground by the karsevaks on December 6, with the support of Shiv Sena, VHP and BJP. This leads to some of the most deadliest riots across the country, leading to the deaths of more than 2,000 people. The central government, headed by P V Narasimha Rao, sets up a commission of enquiry under Justice M S Liberhan on December 16.

2002: In February 2002, in an attack on a train from Godhra in Gujarat, believed to be carrying karsevaks to Ayodhya, at least 58 people are killed. Riots erupt across the state and over 1,000 people are said to have been killed during the riots.

The High Court orders the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to excavate the site to determine if it was earlier a temple. In April 2002, three HC judges start the hearing to determine who the site belongs to.

August 22, 2003: The ASI submitted its report to the Allahabad High Court, saying it had found features of a 10th century temple beneath the site of the masjid
August 31, 2003: All India Muslim Personal Law Board said it would challenge the ASI report.
In September, a court rules that seven Hindu leaders should stand trial for inciting violence and the destruction of the mosque. Advani is the deputy prime minister, and does not face any charges.

2009: In June, the Liberhan commission, which had been set up to investigate the events following the demolition, submits the report. Uproar in the Parliament as the report blames politicians from BJP for their role in the demolition.

2010: The Allahabad High Court pronounces its judgment on the four title suits relating to the dispute. In the landmark hearing, the HC rules that the disputed land be divided into three parts -- one third to Ram Lalla, represented by the Hindu Mahasabha; one third to the Islamic Waqf Board; and the remaining third to the Nirmohi Akhara. In December, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and the Sunni Waqf Board move the Supreme Court, challenging the HC ruling.

2011: In May, the Supreme Court stays the High Court order to split the land, stating that the status quo remains.

2014 – BJP wins lower house elections and Narendra Modi becomes PM

2015: The VHP announces a nationwide drive to collect stones for the construction of the Ram Mandir. Six months later, in December, two trucks of stones arrive at the disputed site. Mahant Nritya Gopal Das claims there is a green signal from the Modi government that the temple will be built now.

2015- The Uttar Pradesh government led by Akhilesh Yadav says it will not allow the arrival of the stones in Ayodhya for the construction of the Ram Mandir.

March 2017: The Supreme Court said charges against Advani and other leaders cannot be dropped in the 1992 Babri mosque demolition case and that the case may be revived.

April 2017 - Supreme Court restored the charges of criminal conspiracy against senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others in connection to the Babri Mosque demolition case

Watch the full film documentary Ram Ke Naam by Anand Patwardhan

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tags – Babri Mosque Demolition Case Advani Face Trial