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Babri’s verdict is read, LK Advani, MM Joshi join via video link

LK Advani, 92 and MM Joshi, 86, have reportedly applied for an exemption. (File)

New Delhi:
The verdict in the 28-year case concerning the demolition of Babri Masjid, which was located at the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya, will be pronounced today by a special court in Lucknow. The 1992 demolition – preceded by a series of Rath Yatras by LK Advani of the BJP – cost about 3,000 lives and changed the country’s political landscape. The defendants in the case include the top executives of the ruling BJP: the party’s founding members, Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, former ministers Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh. Mr. Advani, 92, Mr. Joshi, 87, and Ms. Bharti, 61, were not present in court and joined via video link.

Here are the first 10 points of the story:

  1. LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh – who are among the 32 survivors accused in the case – are facing charges of conspiracy and promotion of enmity. The court, which asked all defendants to be present, must decide whether they and others conspired and instigated thousands of activists to bring down the mosque on December 6, 1992. 26 defendants present in court include Faizabad MP Lallu Singh, Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj, Kaiserganj MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Ram Champat Rai Temple Trust member and 22 others.

  2. Mr. Advani, Mr. Joshi and Uma Bharti were allegedly on stage near the mosque at the time of the demolition on December 6, 1992. Investigative agencies said they instigated the crowd with their speeches.

  3. BJP senior leader Kalyan Singh was the prime minister of Uttar Pradesh at the time of the demolition. His government was sacked as riots broke out across the country, killing some 3,000 people.

  4. Former Union Minister Uma Bharti, admitted to a hospital in Uttarakhand after contracting COVID-19, wrote to BJP head JP Nadda, saying she will not seek bail if she is convicted in the case.

  5. Mr. Advani had recorded his statement before the CBI special court via videoconference on July 24. The special judge asked him 100 questions. Mr. Joshi recorded his statement a day before Mr. Advani. Both have denied all charges against them.

  6. Over the past 28 years, the case has taken a winding road. From the first two cases presented in 1992, the number of cases has increased to 49. The second case, FIR no. 198, had named Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharti, accusing them of promoting religious enmity and provocation of the revolt.

  7. In 1993, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a single consolidated indictment sheet against 48 people, including Shiv founder Sena Bal Thackeray and Kalyan Singh.

  8. The cases against Mr. Advani, Mr. Joshi and Uma Bharti moved from Lalitpur to Rae Bareli in Lucknow. The last round came after a Supreme Court order, which also called for the reinstatement of the conspiracy charges – withdrawn by the CBI and denied by the Allahabad High Court – against them.

  9. In April 2017, the Supreme Court had asked the Lucknow Special Court to complete the trial within two years with daily hearings. Subsequently, several extensions were granted and when special judge SK Yadav asked for more time, the court extended the deadline to September 30.

  10. The 16th-century mosque is said to have been built by the commander of Mughal Emperor Babar Mir Baqi after he demolished an ancient temple that marked Lord Ram’s birthplace in Ayodhya. In a historic November verdict, the Supreme Court ordered the construction of a temple on the site. The inaugural ceremony took place earlier this year which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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