An Indian court on Wednesday acquitted all 32 accused in the Babri Masjid case after a judge ruled that the demolition wasn’t preplanned.
According to NDTV, the Special judge SK Yadav said that the demolition wasn’t pre-planned, adding that the leaders accused – including BJP founder-members, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi – tried to stop the demolition by “unlawful elements”.
All 26 accused appeared before the court around 10.30am, whereas, the other six appeared via video link.
What is the dispute?
The Ayodhya dispute is about a plot of land measuring 2.77 acres in the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, which houses the Babri mosque and Ram Janmabhoomi.
This particular piece of land is considered sacred among Hindus as it is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram. Muslims argue that the land houses the Babri mosque, where they had offered prayers for years before the dispute.
The dispute arises over whether the mosque was built on top of the Ram temple.
In 2010, the Allahabad High Court had said that there should be a partition of the Ayodhya land between the two parties. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had urged the apex court to hear a batch of petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court order.
In 1991, riding high on the success of Advani’s campaign to build a temple on the Babri Masjid site, the BJP emerged as India’s main opposition party in the Parliament and grabbed power in Uttar Pradesh too.
The temple-building campaign gained pace when Hindu volunteers kept on pouring into Ayodhya to build the temple and knock down the Babri Masjid.
And in 1992, the Babri Mosque was demolished by Hindu hardliners and communal riots erupted across India, killing over 2,000 people.