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Nearly three decades after the incident sent shockwaves through the nation, a Special CBI Court in Lucknow today acquitted BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and 29 others in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
The verdict was passed today by Special CBI Judge Surendra Kumar Yadav.
The demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya took place on December 6, 1992, at the hands of kar sevaks who believed the site to be the birthplace of Lord Ram.
This led to the registration of two separate FIRs, one against unnamed kar sevaks for the demolition of the structure, and the other against eight BJP leaders for instigating the demolition of the structure. The case was later transferred to the CBI.
A total of 49 people were named as accused in the FIR lodged by the CBI, 17 of whom died during the course of the trial.
A trial was conducted for the alleged commission of offences under Sections 147 (Rioting), 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion), 153-B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) 295 (Injuring or defiling place of worship) 295-A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class), and 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) IPC read with Sections 149 (Unlawful assembly) and 120B (Criminal conspiracy) IPC.
Read how the case progressed here:
The case was heard on a day-to-day basis, after intervention by the Supreme Court.
In April 2017, the Court had allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to frame charges against eight BJP leaders for criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid Demolition case. The Court had directed that the trial should conclude within two years, and had also ordered that the judge hearing the case to not be transferred.
On August 22 this year, the Apex Court further extended the deadline for completion of the trial in the case, including the pronouncement of judgment, till September 30.
In line with the Apex Court's directions, in an order dated September 18, it was notified that the verdict would be pronounced today.