Twenty years on verdict eludes plaintiffs

Twenty years have passed since the demolition of Babri masjid in Ayodhya, but a final verdict in the cases related to demolition and title suits is still awaited, causing frustration among the principal plaintiffs of these cases.

While the demolition cases are pending trial at the special court in Raebareli, the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suits are under trial at the Supreme Court as plaintiffs sought to contest the 2010 verdict of Allahabad Court’s Lucknow bench which ruled that the site be divided among the Hindu and Muslim parties.

At present, two cases related to demolition are pending trial. The first one is being heard by a special court Raebareli and the other one is before the special judge (Ayodhya Prakaran) at Lucknow.

Soon after the demolition of the dispute structure on December 6, 1992, a case was registered at the Ram Janambhoomi police station in Ayodhya by the then station officer P N Shukla.

The second case was registered by Ganga Prasad Tewari, also a police officer. While the first case was against unidentified “karsevaks,” the second one named eight people, including BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, VHP leaders Ashok Singhal and others.

The CBI has completed the investigation in both the cases and has filed a chargesheet in the matter and the courts are recording the evidence. So far, 10 accused and as many as 50 witnesses have died during the trial. As many as 31 witnesses have already deposed before the Raebareli Court.

Several witnesses, including senior IPS officer Anju Gupta, who was Advani's personal security officer at the time of demolition, had already deposed before the Raebareli Court on behalf of the CBI.

The second case in this regard was currently pending trial with the special judge (Ayodhya Prakaran) at Lucknow. Former Faizabad police chief D B Rai, BJP legislator from Ayodhya Lallo Singh are among 23 accused persons who figure in the case.

While the case at Raebareli contained charges like inciting violence, creating enmity among different groups on the grounds of religion, unlawful assembly, the lawyers said.

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