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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Babri demolition verdict: Accused not named in depositions, top officials say could not hear speeches, cite noise and dust

The CRPF was in-charge of security arrangements at the mosque.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi | Updated: October 2, 2020 10:37:16 am
Two officials said BJP leaders gave provocative speeches. (File)

* Heard slogans of “Babri Masjid tod do”, but cannot prove who raised the slogans.

* Could not hear the speeches given by the political leaders (who sat 800 metres away).

* There was noise and dust, could not hear anything.

These are some of the depositions made by police officers, local intelligence officials and the CRPF listed as key witnesses by the CBI to prove a conspiracy angle in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Few named any of the high-profile accused, while two officials testified about provocative speeches given by BJP leaders, including Uma Bharti. On Wednesday, all 32 were acquitted by a Special CBI Court.

The CRPF was in-charge of security arrangements at the mosque.

CBI special judge S K Yadav rejected the testimony of the officials naming BJP leaders, saying there were contradictions in their statements. “PW (prosecution witness) 57 (Farooque Ahmed, Police officer) also for the first in the court testified that Acharya Dharmendra Dev, Sadhvi Ritambhara, and Uma Bharti gave the provocative speech. PW 58 (Jagveer Singh, CRPF Constable) & PW 57 have not identified the accused and those who were identified, it is for the first time in the court they made mention of the accused,” the court said.

However, the two were exceptions. Top officials to Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel, who gave details on kar sevaks getting “aggressive”, didn’t identify or name any of the accused charged by the CBI.

CRPF

* PW 62 (Jeevan Singh), IG-rank officer, on duty at the spot: He did not name any of the accused as being involved in the demolition.

* PW-259 (Satish Chandra Chaubey), IG, CRPF: Accepted that it was “anti-social element and terrorists, who were disguised as kar sevaks, because of whom the disputed structure was demolished”.

The order went on to say, “… some Muslim youth, indulged in vandalism of some graves on December 1-2, with the intention to communally charge up the atmosphere… The evidence also shows that on December 5, an intelligence report was taken up, during the high-level meeting taken up by the Inspector General A K Sharan, that those who associated with the Pakistani intelligence could also attack.”

* PW-151 (Rajendra Kumar Swami), CRPF Deputy Commandant: Said volunteers were present to complete the task of kar seva.

* PW 127 (Kanwar Jorawar Singh), on duty at the sanctum sanctorum: Testified that he did not have any information about what happened outside.

* PW 121 (Mohammed Latif), CPRF officer: Testified about the kar seva being performed; not about any accused.

PAC

* PW-269 (Jagmohan Yadav), former PAC commandant: Said that as the crowd swelled up, it became uncontrollable. The court said his testimony couldn’t prove involvement of the accused.

* PW-234 (Veer Singh), PAC officer, on duty at the Ram Chabutra: Said that due to noise and dust, he could not see or hear anything.

* PW-113 (Kumar Rana), PAC officer: In connection with the kar sevaks, said they were behind stone-pelting. Didn’t name any of the accused.

* PW 162 (Devdutt Singh) and PW-167 (Rajendra Prasad Shukla: Testified that the crowd became uncontrollable, and that they put in all efforts to bring the situation under control.

* PW 185 (Kewal Vas Tiwari): Testified that kar sevaks were not deterred by tear gas or by an order to open firing by a circle officer. Said they had obstructed officials from performing their duties.

Police and Local Intelligence

* PW-176 (Nagendra Prasad Pandey), on LIU (local intelligence unit) duty: Testified that kar sevaks got aggressive, and raised slogans like ‘Ek dhakka aur do, Babri masjid todh do’. However, the court said, he could not authenticate which specific slogan was raised by which accused.

* PW-68 (Akhilesh Mehrotra), Additional SP: Said that many political leaders were part of the jan sabha being held 800 metres away, but added that he could not hear what they said in their speeches as he was busy with law and order duty.

* PW-9 (Ram Bahadur) Police: Said that several of the accused gave speeches and gestured towards the disputed structure. However, during cross-examination, he accepted that on December 5, 1992, at a meeting, the IG Zone had informed that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI could launch an attack disguised as kar sevaks. He also said that on March 26, 1993, one of the accused, L K Advani, lookedvery worried.

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