Advani charged in Babri mosque razing
28 July, 2005
RAE BARELI, July 29 (Online): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president L.K. Advani and seven others were Thursday charged in the 1992 Babri Mosque demolition case in Ayodhya.
Special Judicial Magistrate V.K. Singh read out the charges against each of the accused in a packed courtroom and fixed Aug 30 for the next hearing. Pleading "not guilty", Advani and the others furnished a personal bond and surety of Rs.10,000 each, reports IANS.
Besides the BJP chief, party leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati were also present in the court that had only two years ago dropped the charges against Advani due to lack of evidence. The demolition of the 16th century mosque in Ayodhya on Dec 6, 1992, had triggered nationwide communal frenzy that took a heavy toll of human lives. The ramifications of that movement are still being felt. Advani is among those accused of inciting communal passions by making inflammatory statements.
After razing the Babri mosque, Hindu activists put up a makeshift temple at the site that they contend is the birthplace of Hindu god Ram. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Sadhvi Rithambara were also charged. "They were all charged under section 153 (a) and (b) of the Indian Penal Code for making provocative speeches aimed at inciting communal passions and enmity," Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) counsel P.K. Chaube told reporters.
"Besides, sections 147 and 149 were invoked against them for indulging in rioting and for unlawful assembly," he said.
Under the law, these offences are punishable with two to five years of imprisonment. "We maintain the cases are politically motivated and all eight people will be acquitted," BJP spokesperson Sushma Swaraj, who was present outside the Rae Bareli court, told reporters.
Proceedings against Advani were revived following a July 6 order of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, which quashed the Rae Bareli court's ruling of Sep 19, 2003, discharging him of involvement in the demolition case.