Charges will be framed against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi and nine others by a Special Court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition case of 1992.
Several Hindu extremists had demolished the centuries-old Babri Masjid in 1992 using hammers and other tools. Over 3,000 people lost their lives in the large-scale communal violence that followed the demolition of the Masjid. The demolition was the high point of a festering dispute between Hindus and Muslims. The Hindus believed that Mughal emperor Babur had demolished a temple at the site which is considered to be the birthplace of Hindu god Ram.
Also Read: Babri Masjid demolition case: A timeline
CBI Special Judge SK Yadav had on May 25 directed all the 12 accused to be present in the court when charges would be framed against them on May 30. Yadav had also said that it was mandatory for all of them to attend the court and that none of the accused would be exempted from personal appearance at the court.
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 30, 2017
LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Rithambara, Vishnu Hari Dalmai, Vinay Katiyar, Ram Vilas Vedanti, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahant Dharamdas, Champat Rai Bansal, Baikunth Lal Sharma and Shiv Sena leader Satish Pradhan will be present in the court on Tuesday, the Hindustan Times reported.
Before appearing in the court in Lucknow, Bharti on Tuesday told reporters that she does not consider herself a "criminal". Charges of criminal conspiracy will be framed against the accused under Section 120(b) of the Indian Penal Code. "I do not consider myself to be a criminal as I participated in it with my full effort. The case is related to god, my expectation is also from the god," Bharti said.
The accused are also expected to submit surrender applications to the court and seek bail. They are also likely to complete all legal formalities when charges are framed against them by the court on Tuesday. The CBI Special Court in Lucknow had sent summons to all the accused in the case on the orders of the Supreme Court.
In April 2017, the CBI had challenged before the SC the Allahabad High Court's decision to withdraw conspiracy charges against the senior BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
The apex court had, however, excluded BJP leader Kalyan Singh from facing charges as he enjoys constitutional immunity as current Rajasthan Governor and, therefore, can be tried only after he ceases to hold office.
The apex court has ordered that no judge hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case will be transferred till the verdict is announced. It has also directed the Lucknow trial court to begin proceedings in four weeks and clarified that there would not be any de novo trial — a new or fresh trial by a different tribunal.
The bench had further asked the CBI to club the two cases pending in the Rae Bareilly and Lucknow courts and to conduct a joint trial in Lucknow following the revival of criminal conspiracy charges against the leaders.