Monday, 11 December 2017, 06:02:44 pm
Ayodhya case: Political games continue as SC hears pleas on Babri Masjid title suit
December 05, 2017

Crimes that shake the secular fabric of the Constitution have allegedly been committed almost 25 years ago -- Supreme Court, April, 2017, while reviving criminal conspiracy charges against several political leaders in the demolition of Babri Masjid case.

The demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya remains a scar on contemporary India’s social and political conscience, but equally vexing has been the resolution of the cases filed against alleged perpetrators and conspirators of the act.

The legal tussle over the disputed site between Hindus and Muslims dates back more than a century, but remains unresolved, inflaming passions on both sides.

The cases over the demolition have wound their way from local courts to the high court and finally the apex court of the country. In these last two decades, confusion has prevailed over which court will try the accused; leaders have been let off on procedural issues, only for the charges to be revived against them years later; and hearings have been hamstrung by which sections should apply.

Twenty-five years after hundreds of Hindu zealots scaled the disputed mosque and tore it down, the Supreme Court, on Tuesday, began hearing the title suit over the disputed land.

The first, crime number 197/1992, was registered at the Ayodhya Police Station against tens of thousands of unknown kar sevaks (religious volunteers) for the demolition of the mosque. They were accused of the offences of dacoity, robbery, causing of hurt, injuring/defiling places of public worship, and promoting enmity between two groups on grounds of religion.

The second, crime no. 198/1992, was registered against eight persons, including Bharatiya Janata Party leaders LK Advani, Uma Bharati, Murli Manohar Joshi and Vinay Katiyar, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Ashok Singhal, Sadhvi Ritambara, Giriraj Kishore and Vishnu Hari Dalmia, who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj when the mosque was being demolished. They are accused of promoting enmity and making assertions prejudicial to national integration. This complaint didn’t list a conspiracy charge.

A total of 49 criminal cases were registered in connection with the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. But of these 49 cases, there are two main First Information Reports.

The first, crime number 197/1992, was registered at the Ayodhya Police Station against tens of thousands of unknown kar sevaks (religious volunteers) for the demolition of the mosque. They were accused of the offences of dacoity, robbery, causing of hurt, injuring/defiling places of public worship, and promoting enmity between two groups on grounds of religion.

The second, crime no. 198/1992, was registered against eight persons, including Bharatiya Janata Party leaders LK Advani, Uma Bharati, Murli Manohar Joshi and Vinay Katiyar, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Ashok Singhal, Sadhvi Ritambara, Giriraj Kishore and Vishnu Hari Dalmia, who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj when the mosque was being demolished. They are accused of promoting enmity and making assertions prejudicial to national integration. This complaint didn’t list a conspiracy charge. (Hindustan Times)