SO FAR, two separate cases were being heard in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition. The Supreme Court has now ordered a joint trial in a Lucknow court. That court has been trying kar sevaks accused of demolition of the structure. The other case, in a Rae Bareli court, is of allegedly instigating the crowd to demolish the structure through their speeches. It is in the latter case that BJP leaders including Union minister Uma Bharti and veterans L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are accused. In the case in Lucknow, the accused include current BJP MPs Lallu Singh, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and Sakshi Maharaj. The cases were probed by the CBI. The next hearing in both cases is on April 22.
Lucknow: Demolition case
Twenty-two persons were accused and being tried under IPC sections 120 B (conspiracy), 147 (rioting), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 395 (dacoity), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender), 153-A (promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 295 ( injuring or defiling place of workship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).
“The case is being tried against 22 accused in the court of special judge Surendra Kumar Yadav,” said Ram Kumar Yadav, special counsel for the prosecution. “So far, 196 prosecution witnesses have been examined during the trial. The court has issued summons to other prosecution witnesses for their examination.”
Apart from MPs Lallu Singh, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and Maharaj, the other accused in the case are Jaibhan Singh Pawiya, Dharmendra Singh Gujar, Naveen Bhai Shukla, Acharya Dharmendra Dev, Sudhir Kakkar, Vinay Kumar Rai, Prakash Sharma, Gandhi Yadav, Vijay Bahadur Singh, Ramesh Pratap Singh, Om Prakash Pandey, Ramji Gupta, Kamlesh Tripathi, Santosh Dubey, Ram Chandra Khatri, Jai Bhagwan Goyal, Amarnath Goyal, Pawan Pandey and former IAS officer R N Srivastava, then the district magistrate of Faizabad. Most of the accused are BJP or Shiv Sena leaders.
Rae Bareli: Instigation case
There are six accused facing trial in this case. Two other accused Acharya Giriraj Kishore and Ashok Singhal have died, in July 2014 and November 2015 respectively. Apart from Advani, Joshi and Bharti, the other accused are BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambhara and VHP leader Vishnu Hari Dalmia. They are being tried under IPC sections 153-A and 153-B, 147, 149 and 505, dealing with offences as described above.
“The case in Rae Bareli is in trial in the court of additional chief judicial magistrate Lovey Yadav,” defence lawyer Vimal Srivastava said. “So far, 58 witnesses have been examined.