A special court in India has finally delivered its verdict in the 28-year-old case involving the demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya, India. All the 32 accused, including veterans from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, have been acquitted. The court decision on this long-standing case might be challenged by some. For others it offers a sense of vindication.
The court ruled that the demolition of the Babri mosque on December 6, 1992, was not planned and involved “antisocial elements”. The verdict comes close on the heels of a historic ruling in November last year, when India’s Supreme Court handed over the controversial site to Hindus for the building of a Ram temple. The groundbreaking ceremony took place earlier this year, with Modi performing the rituals.
In any polarising case, which is as keenly watched as this one, the verdict is bound to aggrieve some. Wisdom and sound judgement lie in working towards sustainable unity and harmony among followers of different faiths. Only then would a huge county — with so many diverse faiths and as many shades of opinion — like India continue its march towards progress
The demolition of the 16th century mosque by thousands of “Kar Sevaks” (religious volunteers) who believed it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple — has damaged the social fabric in India. The incident led to communal riots that left close to 3,000 dead and changed India’s political landscape forever.
No criminal conspiracy established
The case took several turns in the last 28 years. Two cases were filed in 1992, which eventually grew to 49. Some of those involved in the case passed away during the trial period. While the court recognises demolition of the mosque in 1992 as a crime, it goes on to rule that no criminal conspiracy could be established in the high-profile case. While critics say that the verdict gives licence for fresh acts of vandalism against minority places of worship, many contend that the court verdict gives a rare opportunity that allows the country to move on.
India has always been a land of many contrasts. If religious, social groups continue to focus on the many negative things that happened in the past, there is an apprehension that the nation could move in a negative direction. The Court has tried, it would appear from the facts established, to base its verdict on principles that are in accordance with the fundamentals of the Constitution.
In any polarising case, which is as keenly watched as this one, the verdict is bound to aggrieve some. Wisdom and sound judgement lie in working towards sustainable unity and harmony among followers of different faiths. Only then would a huge country — with so many diverse faiths and as many shades of opinion — like India continue its march towards progress.