On Wednesday, a special CBI court acquitted all 32 survivors who were accused in the Babri masjid demolition case. The reason for this was cited to be the lack of evidence against them.
The CBI special judge Surendra Kumar, issued a 2300-page order, rejecting the pieces of evidence from videos, photos and speeches of the accused. He raised questions on the conclusions and statements which were drawn by the prosecution. He also referred to the potential Pakistani intelligence involvement and anti-social elements and terrorists disguised as kar sevaks who were present at the demolition site.
The order said that no evidence stating that the accused “had met inside a room in order to plan the demolition of the mosque” was found. The judge ruled that the videos of demolition were not examined by the forensic agencies and the negatives of the pictures captured on that particular day were not produced. Therefore, they could not be trusted as eligible evidence for the case.
Surendra Kumar Yadav said that every single piece of evidence which was presented in the documents was analysed but still the crime against accused could not be established.
The people who were acquitted of the conspiracy charges were the highlights and leading faces of the Ram janmabhoomi movement which led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, in Ayodhya. The CBI filed a charge sheet against 49 people in all. Out of these people, 17 are now dead, including VHP leaders Ashok Singhal and Acharya Giriraj Kishore, and Shiv Cena supremo Bal Thackeray.
This was Yadav’s last order. He had retired last year and was on the extension on the direction of the supreme court before passing this judgement. The judgement was passed in the duration of less than a year after a five-judge bench of the supreme court handed over the disputed Ayodhya land for the construction of Ram temple. The supreme court, however, called the razing of the Babri masjid illegal.
In a contradictory statement, Bajaj said that considering all the witnesses which were produced by the CBI (photos, videos, speeches and newspaper cuttings) it was evident that there were no particular incidents of the accused people meeting in a room for planning the execution of the demolition.
“No prosecution witnesses have clearly named any accused persons; the witnesses have also not clearly stated that it was through the accused that the structure was demolished”- said the Judge.
For the purpose of rejecting the conspiracy charges, the decision committee has considered the following observations-
- It said that it is quite evident that the people assembled in huge numbers for performing the kar seva. The ambience was full of dust and the mosque was approximately 200 metres away from Ram Katha Kunj. A witness also said that the distance was 800 metres. Taking all this into consideration it is quite hard to believe that the accused made hand gestures to carry out the demolition.
- Most of the witnesses claim that the kar sevaks had sand and water in their hands. The witness who was actually present during the time claimed that there was a lot of noise at the place of the Puja while the Aarti was being performed peacefully. Not even a single witness has testified that any of the the accused people were involved in the demolition.
CBI’s case has been rejected on the basis of four broad aspects:
- CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY-
The court has clearly denied the presence of any kind of criminal conspiracy by the accused. The court raised questions over the government for not taking any actions on a local intelligence report that alleged the involvement of Pakistani agencies in the demolition. On the basis of criminal conspiracy, the case filed by CBI was weakened with the submission of a report on December 5, 1992, by the local intelligence unit stating that the Pakistani intelligence agency infiltrated the venue to demolish the structure on 6 December.
One of the reports also states that the explosive which was originated from Pakistan reached Ayodhya through the route of Delhi while another one states that nearly hundred people from Udhampur area of Jammu and Kashmir visited Ayodhya in the garb of Kar Sevaks.
The court also stated that despite receiving such crucial information no deliberation was made and concluded that the prosecution witness has given assent to the presence of anti-social elements in terrorist disguises kar sevaks at the venue leading to the demolition. The same has been evidently stated in the report submitted by LIU.
According to the court, there was no specific recording your voice sample which was produced as evidence during the proceedings in the court which could establish that the speeches made at the venue intrigued the mob. The court also said that the pieces of evidence with respect to LK Advani, MM Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharati and Sadhvi Pragya Ritambara were carefully examined and judged in detail to analyse their involvement in raising slogans which incited the demolition. Examination of journalists and photographers present on December 6 was also done. A prosecution witness stated that Uma Bharati raised slogans but there was no testimony to prove that. Most of the witnesses have also agreed to the fact that there was noise in the atmosphere due to the bhajans and kirtans, making them unable to hear anyone.
several photographs were captured by the witnesses on the day of the revolution to show that the people were climbing on the structure. There are also photos of leaders sitting and, police officers and kar sevaks being present. But the fact that the accused themselves are responsible for demolishing the disputed structure cannot be evidently established from photographs as only their presence has been confirmed and nothing else. The court also raised questions over the CBI on technical grounds stating that it had not produced the negatives of the photos or obtained signatures of the photographers to justify that the photographs were taken at the spot. It is a common procedure that only a negative of a photo can be submitted to the court.
Any evidence to be taken on account of videos was also rejected by the court stating that no forensic examination has been made to rule out the tampering.
The prosecution has accepted that no video was in a sealed state when it was seized by the CBI and that no footage or video cassette was sealed after the seizure. The same was also not sent for examination by the forensics to prove that there was no tampering in the videos. The witnesses have also accepted that the videos which were produced in the court have advertisements interested in between. Some of the videos were also footages from outside Ayodhya.
According to the prosecuting officer, now the judgement would be sent to the CBI headquarters. The ball would be in the CBI’s court to decide whether it wants to go ahead and file an appeal or not.