The long-awaited verdict has come in the 28-year old case of Babri Masjid demolition of 6 December 1992, by sangh parivar's kar sevaks. All the 32 accused in the criminal conspiracy case including prominent BJP leaders like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and Kalyan Singh have been acquitted by the Special CBI Court of Lucknow on Wednesday. The judge SK Yadav in his judgement said that the CBI could not prove the Babri masjid demolition was a result of a pre-meditated plan; according to the judge, the demolition was only a spontaneous act of violence by vandals. As a matter of fact, the happenings of that fateful day of 6 December 1992 was witnessed live by the world in broad daylight in which Hindutva volunteers thrashed the domes of Babri masjid, levelled the ground where the masjid stood and built a makeshift temple, on one of the darkest days of world history.
It was not a case of a few people appearing there one fine morning with lethal weapons and bringing down the stable 400-plus year old structure. On the contrary, the 1992 kar seva was a culmination of a long campaign of several years beginning with the breaking of the mosque lock and its opening for Ram pooja through the temple shilanyas, Rama paduka pooja and finally the countrywide rath yatra (chariot race), during which the sangh parivar ignited Hindu religious sentiments and created communal frenzy. On that day, sangh parivar leaders LK Advani, AB Vajpayee, VHP leader Ashok Singhal, Bajrajg Dal leader Vinay Katyar and Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray were mobilising Hindutva vandals drawn from various parts of the country to assemble in Ayodhya for a most despicable act of demolishing a place of worship. The world did witness several groups meetings happening under these leaders who made incendiary speeches and let loose their rank and file for the 'kar seva', andn then watching in celebratory mood the mosque crashing under the onslaught.
The CBI produced before the court direct evidence of the event in the form of video clips of those spectacles shot instantly, first hand accounts of witnesses present there, and newspaper and TV channel reports and pictures. In their estimation there were between 30-40 thousand witnesses out of which it prepared a list of 1026 persons. 351 witnesses deposed in person before the CBI court. The prosecution presented a case of precise and crystal clear conspiracy supported by the audio and video tapes of speeches by leaders. But the court discounted every such evidence and exonerated all the accused. The CBI had built its case against 49 individuals under Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy , inciting riots, creating hatred and enmity among different sections of people and unlawful assembly. But in the eyes of the court, these dis not constitute sufficient evidence to prove the guilt. Further, quite at odds with the CBI contention, the court has made a curious observation tha the leaders - accused in the charge sheet of provoking the gathered vandals to violence – were actually trying to calm the mob. Given the judicial interventions hitherto about Babri Masjid, the latest verdict cannot be seen as accidental or surprising. At the same time, a paradoxical parallel of it cannot be missed: the Supreme Court judgment about the ownership of the Babri land; the 9 Nov 2029 verdict, stated that the surreptitious act of smuggling in and installing a Sri Ram idol inside the masjid in 1949, was an act of desecrating a place of worship and the 1992 demolition of the mosque most was 'a calculated act' and ' an eggregious violation of the rule of law'. But in the same verdict the apex court ordered transferring the masjid plot to build a temple. And now the judiciary has come to accept the demolition of the mosque, but there is no evidence of conspiracy by those who masterminded and monitored the unlawful act. The real outcome of the court's decree only came soon after it was read out: one of the accused who came out jubilant from the court room after the verdict, BJP leader Jay Bhagwan Goyal, was quick to remark, "We demolished Babri masjid, I was prepared for death penalty; our next agenda is Mathura and Kashi." Not for nothing did men of eminence like legal scholar and activist Prashant Bhushan react that this is a new India. It can only bemoaned that the fate of this new India is to witness historical truths and facts being invoked and at the same time violators and extortionists being rewarded with a share of unlawful property.