Two Ayodhya residents move HC, challenge acquittal of Babri mosque demolition accused

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Lucknow, Jan 8 (PTI) Two Ayodhya residents on Friday moved the Allahabad High Court, challenging a CBI court's ruling that acquitted all 32 accused including BJP veterans L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi in the 1992 demolition of Babri mosque.

Their counsel is All India Muslim Personal Law Board executive member Zafaryab Jilani.

The advocate, who has also been convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, said the two filed the petition because the prosecuting agency CBI has not yet appealed against the judgment last year.

The petition was filed with the high court registry.

Ayodhya residents Haji Mahmood Ahmad, 74, and Syed Akhlaq Ahmad, 81, claimed in the petition that they were witnesses in the trial against those acquitted by the special court on September 30.

In their plea, they said the trial court committed an error in not convicting the accused while ample evidence was on record. “The trial judge did not appreciate the evidence of conspiracy in the right perspective,” they claimed.

The petition sought that the record from the trial court be summoned, its judgment set aside and all the accused held guilty and punished accordingly.

The special court had acquitted all 32 people accused of inciting a mob of kar sevaks to demolish the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. They believed that the 16th century mosque stood at the birthplace of Lord Ram.

In November 2019, a Supreme Court ruling on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute had paved the way for the construction of the Ram temple at the contested site.

The apex court also ruled that a separate plot be allotted in Ayodhya to build a mosque.

Meanwhile, the CBI court had continued to hear the separate case related to the destruction of the mosque.

In its judgment that ran into 2,300 pages, the CBI court said there was no conclusive evidence against the 32 accused of being involved in any conspiracy to bring down the mosque.

Delivering the verdict on the day of his retirement, special Judge S K Yadav did not accept newspaper reports and video cassettes as evidence.

The court also observed that the late Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal wanted to save the structure because Ram idols were inside.

The demolition of the mosque on December 6, 1992 had triggered riots and widened the rift between the communities.

Twenty-six of the accused were present in the Lucknow court when the judge read out the operative portion of the verdict.

Former deputy prime minister L K Advani, the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, former Union ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, Ram Janmaboomi Teerth Kshetra Trust president Nritya Gopal Das and Shiv Sena leader Satish Pradhan had sought exemptions from personal appearance. PTI COR SAB SMI RAX ASH ASH