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India revives charges against BJP leaders in Babri Masjid case

Updated Apr 19, 2017 03:14pm

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The Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday revived charges of criminal conspiracy against leaders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party in two cases pertaining to the 1992 demolition of the Babri mosque, The Hindu reported.

The demolition of the mosque, located in the northern town of Ayodhya, triggered wide-scale religious riots that killed thousands, deepening divisions between Hindus and India's large Muslim minority that remain today.

A two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justices P.C. Ghose and Rohinton F. Nariman revived the charges against veteran BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Modi's water resources minister Uma Bharti for making inflammatory speeches that incited Hindus to tear down the 16th-century mosque.

The charges against the BJP leaders, brought by the Central Bureau of Investigation, date back more than a decade and were previously blocked by another court.

Charges against six other BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders were also revived. They had been accused of "giving provocative speeches that promoted enmity and threatened national integration" in the Rae Bareilly case.

Earlier this year, the Rae Bareilly case was clubbed together with the Lucknow case, which pertains to the actual demolition of the mosque and ensuing violence.

During Wednesday's hearing, the apex court clarified that despite being clubbed together, the trial would be no de novo (initiated anew). Rather, the criminal conspiracy charges would be joined into one.

The SC also ordered a day-to-day trial of the case to be completed in two years ─ a decision that will be a blow to the BJP and revive debate about the brand of Hindu nationalism within Modi's party.

During the hearing, the Indian SC also exempted Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh from facing trial, the daily added.

Singh, who was serving as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh at the time of the demolition of the mosque, is protected from criminal prosecution by the constitutional immunity granted to him as governor.

However, Justice Nariman maintained that the governor would be prosecuted "the moment he steps down".

Modi has himself been dogged by questions over his Hindu nationalist ideology. He long faced allegations that he looked the other way or even encouraged Hindu mobs to go on a rampage against Muslims in Gujarat state, where he was chief minister in 2002, after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was torched.

He denied the allegations and a Supreme Court-ordered inquiry absolved him of responsibility.

In 1992, Advani, a former home minister and chief of the BJP, had led Hindus on a pilgrimage that ended with the razing of the mosque. Photographs circulated at the time show politicians celebrating its destruction.

The BJP is committed to building a temple on the site of the mosque, which Hindus say is the birthplace of their god-king Rama, “within the framework of the constitution”.

Calls from hardliners for the immediate construction of the temple have challenged Modi as he tries to balance the demands of Hindu activists emboldened by his victory in 2014 with a economic reform agenda supported by a broader swathe of the electorate.

Most BJP politicians have said the courts should decide if construction can go ahead.

Modi last month appointed Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand priest with a history of agitation against Muslims, as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, where Ayodhya is located, raising concerns that the prime minister was moving to redefine India as a Hindu nation.

While several other politicians will also face trial, the court granted the ruling governor of the western state of Rajasthan constitutional immunity and dropped cases against other political leaders. Indian court cases typically drag on for years. (Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Comments (48) Closed



sodawaterbottleopenerwala Apr 19, 2017 02:26pm

India always states an example for neighbouring nations and others how REAL democracy works .

Faisal Apr 19, 2017 02:26pm

Justice delayed is justice denied. Since 1992, nothing done against criminals because these are Hindu extremists in a hindu republic of India.

Krishna Apr 19, 2017 02:31pm

That is how the courts work here in India !!............

Khem Apr 19, 2017 02:36pm

That's the beauty of Indian judicial system, that's why our judiciary is always hailed world wide for its fair & impartial trials.

Sympathiser Apr 19, 2017 02:53pm

Let's Wait for the turn events that unfolds in this long pending case of India... The justice should be such that it should convince all the parties

Afzal Nadir Apr 19, 2017 02:58pm

this is a test case for indian judiciary to decide whether they are independent or not. The Muslims of India need justice which is pending for the last quarter century due to sluggish process of indian judiciary. lets hope that justice will prevail and the martyred mosque will be re constructed and the conspirators will face punishment...

Chha Apr 19, 2017 03:01pm

It's a verdict to charge against these leaders. They will be now part of the allegation in chargesheet. They have to face the trial but this does not mean they are guilty or innocent. Till the court proves, they are innocent citizen of this great secular country.

sri1 Apr 19, 2017 03:01pm

This is India, where even corrective, liberating and cathartic actions get micro-scrutinized by law. Time for further Modi-fication. Jai Hind.

Nitin Apr 19, 2017 03:10pm

Welcome to India. It's the country where law and constitution is above all.

Subash Apr 19, 2017 03:18pm

I agree there has been an extraordinary delay in this case. Not only this case, many cases involving high-profile personalities drag on for years. People with money and power use all kinds of legal method to delay the proceeding , if not derail the proceeding. That is India

Namo Apr 19, 2017 03:23pm

@Faisal talk about extremism in your country before pointing fingers.

saqib MUGHAL UK Apr 19, 2017 03:24pm

@Khem I'm pretty sure that's not true. If anything countries like India and Pakistan are exemplified for miscarries of justice.

saqib MUGHAL UK Apr 19, 2017 03:25pm

This is India where only the poor get punished and political elite and rich folk walk away free.

Umair Apr 19, 2017 03:28pm

@Krishna : really, after 25 years.

Umair Apr 19, 2017 03:29pm

@Khem : yes, what a beauty. It took your court 25 years to take notice.

true minds Apr 19, 2017 03:33pm

Kudos to Indian judiciary.Its Above all parties.Its an example ,how democracy works.

Lone wolf Apr 19, 2017 03:35pm

For all the people who cried that Modi will misuse judicial machinery for Hindutva agenda - RIP.

SID Apr 19, 2017 03:35pm

@Faisal When did India became Hindu republic ?

Out of 1992-2017 , 16 years were ruled by secular non -BJP Govt .

Taimoor khan Apr 19, 2017 03:42pm

Pakistani courts are the example to the world where the sitting prime ministers are also taken to task for any wrong doing. A lesson not only to the neighbors of Pakistan but the world at large.

Shahbaz Ahmed Apr 19, 2017 03:49pm

@Krishna yes but after 25 years................

Balakrishnan Apr 19, 2017 03:50pm

@Afzal Nadir India never look for certificate from others

point of view Apr 19, 2017 03:51pm

Delayed still welcome move. No one above the law of the land.

SID Apr 19, 2017 04:01pm

@Taimoor khan South Korea also did same , so also Brazil.

Those who will make corruption will face the law. Nothing new about that .

A Apr 19, 2017 04:06pm

@Faisal

Looks like ...finding it difficult to appreciate the development.... Of course it must be beyond comprehension skills ingrained over the years.

sodawaterbottleopenerwala Apr 19, 2017 04:11pm

@Faisal , ,why not know before penning down ? congress was ruling till modi came on scene in 2014 .how come you say this ?modi is secular ,

Ashton Apr 19, 2017 04:13pm

@Faisal Stop giving it a twist of favour extremism. 1993 bomb convict yakub memon was punished in 2015

Balakrishnan Apr 19, 2017 04:25pm

This is the quality and impartiality of Indian judiciary. Whether in government of out of government, no interference in court matters.

Iftikhar Husain Apr 19, 2017 04:28pm

I hope this opens a new discussion about the secular India to keep the rights of minorities.

Naveen Apr 19, 2017 04:29pm

Good things should be brought into focus.

aBEY Apr 19, 2017 04:29pm

its only about making clear if someone should face a trial or not... nothing has been proved out of it. by merely standing along with a mob does not mean you are guilty. a very big mob was clearly not controllable and that led to the fall of the dilapidated old mosque... prima facie no one would have thought what would happen.however it is duty of the government at the helm to see that nothing untoward should have happened.

UD Apr 19, 2017 04:35pm

This is how a true judiciary and democracy works !

haider Apr 19, 2017 04:35pm

Nothing will happen.its been 25 years and the culprits are in power.

Akash Apr 19, 2017 04:38pm

@Faisal I would agree Faisal. Please note that such lengthy process is just not limited with this case.

Atticus from India Apr 19, 2017 04:51pm

The blowing up of mosque was a crime against all Indians and not only Muslims, The perpetrators should be prosecuted. Those talking about restoration of the mosque should also remember that there were no prayers being offered at the mosque, not was anyone looking after it. There is no glory in the immediate past that the mosque can be restored to. The place needs to serve as a monument, preferably not for any specific religious faith - probably a school or hospital or library.

Maqsood Apr 19, 2017 04:57pm

@Krishna : By that you mean after 25 years and giving exemption to the mastermind culprits?

f Apr 19, 2017 05:00pm

25 years to incident and no decision yet... what a example of judicial system for neighbouring countries

Jamil Soomro, NEW YORK CITY Apr 19, 2017 05:02pm

Was there an earthquake in India that system woke up after 25 years to start the Court Proceedings again?A senseless destruction of an historical over 500 year old Mosque and deaths that followed.

KT Apr 19, 2017 05:35pm

If ever Supreme Court ruled judgement in favor of Temple the mosque should be relocated nearby.

Masood Hussain Apr 19, 2017 05:41pm

S.C of India has un-masked MODI and his Party.

Abdul muqtadir Apr 19, 2017 06:03pm

India again proves that Constitution is above all and the Courts are holding their values.

missireallymiss Apr 19, 2017 06:05pm

@KT agreed!

GIlgity in germany Apr 19, 2017 06:09pm

@Faisal well said

Indopak Apr 19, 2017 06:13pm

This clearly shows that Indian judiciary is independent.

V C BHUTANI Apr 19, 2017 06:16pm

The latest decision of the court was unexpected. My fear is that the powers that be may use their clout to influence the final decision of the court. My faith in the independence of Indian judiciary is not so great. Ideally, the place should not be turned into a temple or a mosque or both: it should be maintained as an archaeological site with perhaps a historical museum which should be the envy of the greatest. But we hear weighty noises in favour of a Ram Mandir and equally insistent claim by votaries of a mosque. It seems we may live to see the making of a much greater battle over the use of the site, with neither side willing to see sense.

Ahmed khan ahmed Apr 19, 2017 06:43pm

It's a drama. Minorities never get justice in India. Even After 25 years The culprits have been roaming and enjoying highest seats in India. If the same has been done by minority Muslims or Christians, they would have been killed by the Hindu Extremists with the consett of Government or by the law a long time ago. I am 100% sure that nothing will come out from this case if something we expect then that must be against Muslims.

sodawaterbottleopenerwala Apr 19, 2017 07:28pm

@Ahmed khan ahmed prejudice is ever and knows no end bro .get over and see the reality

News analysis Apr 19, 2017 08:11pm

Indian SC may expedite the case if earlier slow. India's sovereignty,independence,integrity,are hidden in secular character and outlook, SC well aware the corner stone and foundation of secularism is at stake, hence culprits must be punished.

IsaBhai Surat wala Apr 19, 2017 08:18pm

@Shahbaz Ahmed Yes even after 25 years nobody is above the law..... Who it may be....