[(L) Union Minister Uma Bharti hugging senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi after demolition od Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. (R) LK Advani and other BJP ledaers in a meeting (File Photo)]
Lucknow: Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Adavni, and nine others from the party including Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Cabinet Minister Uma Bharati, were on Tuesday charged with criminal conspiracy in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case by the Special CBI court in Lucknow.
The court has charged the BJP and Hindutva leaders under different sections of IPC including Section 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) to be read with Section 153 (inciting a mob with an intent to cause riots), Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and disrupting communal harmony), Section 295 (defiling a place of worship with an intent to insult the religion), Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any community) and Section 505 (provocative statements causing public mischief).
The accused associated with the BJP had argued against the framing of charges, asserting that they had no role in the demolition of mosque and had in fact tried to stop it. The court had however rejected their discharge petition.
While the BJP backed its leaders saying they are innocent and "will come clean" in the case, Union Minister Uma Bharti appeared unashamed of what happend on December 6, 1992.
"I don't consider myself an accused...There was no conspiracy, it was an open movement like it happened against the Emergency", she said while talking to reporters.
As per the court order, Advani with other accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case appeared before the court when charges will be framed against them.
The BJP leaders were earlier asked by the court to appear on May 25 and 26, but all the 12 accused sought exemption. The court then called all of them on May 30, cautioning them that no further exemption would be allowed.
Besides them, Special CBI judge S K Yadav had asked BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, VHP's Vishnu Hari Dalmia and a one-time firebrand Hindutva preacher Sadhvi Ritambara to present themselves before the court in person.
The Supreme Court had on April 19, 2017 revived the conspiracy charges and directed the special CBI court to frame charges within a month from the date of production of the order before it. Hence, the CBI court is in a hurry to frame the charges and start daily trial in compliance of the SC direction to conclude trial in two years.
The Apex Court had called the destruction of the medieval-era monument a "crime" which shook the "secular fabric of the Constitution" while allowing the CBI's plea seeking restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the four BJP leaders, including Katiyar and others.