–Pakistan condemns acquittal of Hindu nationalist leaders in Babri Masjid case
LUCKNOW: Citing a lack of evidence, an Indian court on Wednesday acquitted all 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, almost 28 years after a Hindu mob razed the 16th-century structure in Ayodhya and triggered some of the deadliest communal riots that left about 2,000 dead.
Handing down its verdict after a lengthy legal battle, the court said there was not enough evidence to directly tie any of the accused to the violence, defence counsel Manish Kumar Tripathi said.
“The court did not accept the evidence, it was not strong enough,” Tripathi told reporters at the courthouse.
I.B. Singh, another defense attorney, said investigators couldn’t prove the authenticity of audio and video evidence submitted in the case and the judge held that the case lacked legal evidence.
A defendant who was acquitted, Jai Bhagwan Goyal, said: “We had done nothing wrong. The whole of India is happy. Lord Ram’s temple is coming up in Ayodhya city.”
Former deputy prime minister L. K. Advani, who was then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief, was among 32 people accused of criminal conspiracy and inciting a mob to tear down the 16th-century Babri mosque in Ayodhya in 1992.
Four BJP leaders — Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and Advani — were accused of making inflammatory speeches that incited tens of thousands of their followers who had camped out in the city ahead of the attack.
The court, however, pinned the blame on miscreants mingled among the crowd instead, adding that leaders such as Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, another former cabinet minister, had tried to keep the mob from turning violent.
The court had ignored all the evidence in Wednesday’s case, said Zafaryab Jilani, a counsel for the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, adding that it planned to appeal to the high court against the decision.
“We will seek remedy,” he added.
PAKISTAN CONDEMNS PERPETRATORS’ ACQUITTAL:
Pakistan on Wednesday strongly condemned shameful acquittal of those responsible for demolishing the historic Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
Reacting strongly on the Indian court judgement, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez, in a statement on Wednesday, said the Hindutva-inspired Indian judiciary miserably failed to deliver the justice again. He said that if there was a semblance of justice in the so-called largest democracy, the individuals, who had boasted of the criminal act publicly, could not have been set free.
The spokesperson said that this is yet another manifestation of the pliant judiciary under the extremist BJP-RSS regime in which extremist Hindutva’ ideology takes precedence over all principles of justice and international norms.
Zahid said that a wrong direction was earlier set by the Indian Supreme Court’s partisan verdict last year by handing over the Babri Masjid premises for building of Ram Mandir to the very Hindu parties which had demolished the historic mosque.
The spokesperson said that these reprehensible developments with state complicity, coupled with RSS-BJP’s deep-rooted hatred against minorities, particularly Muslims, point to India’s fast descent into a Hindu Rashtra, where minorities have been relegated as second-class citizens.
He said that wilful targeting of Muslims is rampant in today’s India. He also said that the BJP-RSS anti-Muslim agenda is most visible in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) which remains under continued military siege and the BJP continues to implement its sinister policies to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory.
Zahid said that the RSS-BJP regime and the Sangh Parivar are responsible for the continued desecration and demolition of mosques in India in an organised manner as they did during the Gujarat massacre of 2002 and Delhi programme in 2020.
He lamented the attacks by Hindu zealots on places of worship of Muslims have continued even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Emboldened by the flawed Ayodhya verdict, Hindu zealots supported by their RSS-patrons in power, are now seeking removal of the Shahi Idgah Masjid located next to Krishna Temple in Mathura as well as to give ownership of the entire 13.37 acres of land to the Krishna Temple complex, he added.
The spokesperson said that Pakistan urges the Indian government to ensure safety, security and protection of minorities, particularly Muslims and their places of worship and other Islamic sites on which the Hindu extremists and zealots have laid claims.
He said that the world community, the United Nations (UN) and relevant international organizations are expected to play their role in safeguarding the Islamic heritage sites in India from the extremist Hindutva regime and ensure protection of religious rights of minorities in India.