The judgement acquitting the 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case is an absolute shocker. The citizens of this country expected the Special CBI Court to hold the accused responsible for bringing 400 year old Babri Masjid, but alas all of them went scot free with a clean chit by the designated court. Naturally a sense of disbelief and shock enveloped the whole nation as soon as the judgement was pronounced on 30th of September, almost 28 years after the sixteenth century mosque was razed to the ground by thousands of armed “hooligan kar sevaks” on that ‘black day’ of December 6, 1992.
Citizens reactions on twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms were of, ‘what so no one brought down the mosque?’, ‘how did the masjid come down?’, ‘did the structure crumble down on its own?’ ‘was it magic that the mosque disappeared in thin air?’ ‘no one is responsible for the demolition’?, ‘was the mosque demolished legally?’. Responses in electronic and print media were also similar. Stunned and aghast many called the ‘judgement day’ a ‘sad and black day’ and termed the verdict a travesty of justice. A political party saw the CBI court’s ruling as contrary to the Supreme Court’s verdict which has declared that the demolition of the mosque in the disputed site was illegal. Opinion makers found the judgment yet another example of the judiciary losing its credibility while indicting the premier investigating agency, CBI for its shoddy works and called for an immediate appeal against the order.
Those celebrating are the BJP, RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and of course the acquitted accused who are mainly from the Sangh parivar, prominent among them are the face of Janmabhoomi Movement, L.K. Advani, ideologue Murli Manhohar Joshi, former Uttar Pradesh CM, Kalyan Singh and firebrand leader Uma Bharti. The 92-year-old Advani and Joshi chanted the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan in celebration on hearing the judgement.
Not just the common man but lawyers consider the demolition of Babri Masjid an open and shut case. Many of the half a million kar sevaks who had already assembled in Ayodhya in the first days of December 1992, were armed with pickaxe, spades, shovels, and other tools. Leading to nightmarish spectacle was the build-up for several months in full public view. True to the anticipation and fear of many, the commitment made in Parliament and before the Supreme Court was violated and the masjid was demolished.
It dealt a lethal blow to the image of a secular India. All the while BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders were present in numbers amid unprecedented security measures and presence of international media. Reportedly after the ‘accomplishment’ photographs and videos captured the smiles of the leaders present, the hugs, the distribution of sweets and the raising of slogans before and after the criminal act that the Supreme Court called a ‘national shame’. In spite of these evidences none of the 32 surviving accused is brought to justice for conspiracy and demolition of the place of worship even after nearly 28 years.
The Justice Liberhan Commission, set up to probe the sequence of events that led to the demolition in its report submitted on 30 June 2009, found that the demolition was pre-planned. The longest running inquiry commissions that saw 399 sittings and 48 extensions concluded that for the purpose of conducting the ‘temple movement’ was to bring down the mosque.
Sangh Parivar organisations like the RSS, VHP, BJP raised tens of Crores of rupees which were utilised for effecting the events of December 6th, 1992. The mobilisation of karsevaks that converged in Ayodhya was neither spontaneous nor voluntary. ‘It was well orchestrated and planned’. The commission said that the actual demolition was not carried out spontaneously out of sheer anger or emotions. The removal of the idols and the cash box from under the dome, the subsequent reinstallation in the make-shift temple, the construction of the makeshift temple were painstakingly prepared and pre-planned. Needless to say the commission heavily indicted the aforementioned BJP, RSS, VHP leaders.
It is amazing how the special court could not find sufficient evidence or that the prosecutors could not present adequate proof to convict the accused. “All evidence in the charge sheet was examined. The crime alleged against the accused could not be proven,” summarised the court in the judgement. It is astonishing that newspaper clippings, video cassettes, tapes, printed material, speeches, and witness testimonies could not convince the court to nail the accused. In legal classes it is always taught that photographs, video recording, newspapers reports, etc, are compelling evidences in the court of law but not for the judge of the special court asserting that video chips and images were edited and tampered with and hence not credible. The judge also rejected the testimony of witnesses who saw the accused exhorting kar sevaks to demolish the mosque because there was a lot of dust inside the complex packed with lakhs of kar sevaks. But how did the judge know of the very dusty atmosphere filled with the lakhs of kar sevaks?
The faith in the judiciary has taken a beating once again. The incident took place in broad day light. The whole world witnessed it. Those who climbed atop the Mosque with pickaxe, spades, shovels can be easily identified. The right wing leaders of a political party and militant organisations who mobilised the crowd and deliberately took the mob to the level of religious frenzy, not only on that fateful day but over a period of time, are well known. Nothing is left to the imagination. If such an obvious crime is without criminals then what about other lesser crimes? If no one is punished for this beastly act then there is little hope that justice in this country will triumph. The judiciary has once again miserably failed the nation. Equally responsible is the CBI and the prosecuting team for this utter failure to convince the court to punish the guilty.
Once again the nation has let down a section of the citizens, the Muslims. A hostile political and social atmosphere towards the community many be viewed as a passing situation but for the judiciary to be perceived as repeatedly pronouncing unfavourable judgements is a cause of worry for this multi religious nation. The present judgement came less than a year after the ‘landmark’ verdict of the Supreme Court in November last ordering the construction of Ram Mandir at the very spot of the demolished Babri masjid without proving that the demolished mosque was in fact built atop a razed Hindu temple. The 15% of the population has every reason to be aggrieved amidst a majoritarian atmosphere.
Grave injustice is done not only to the minority community but to all citizens who belief in secularism and pluralism and want to preserve the inclusive character of this country. Hope the wrong will be corrected via the appeal against the verdict and a fresh verdict delivering justice as per law of the land.