Indian Supreme Court orders 13 top BJP leaders to face trial in mosque demolition case

NEW DELHI (Xinhua) — The Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that 13 top leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, will be tried for criminal conspiracy in the demolition of a mosque in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The razing of the 16th century Babri Masjid (mosque) in 1992 incited nationwide riots between majority Hindus and minority Muslims, in which around 2,000 people were killed.

Apart from 89-year-old Advani, former Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, and current Indian Minister of Water Resources Uma Bharti will also face trial in the case at a court in the state capital Lucknow, according to the top court.

These top BJP leaders were earlier charged with making inflammatory speeches that motivated lakhs of right-wing volunteers to pull down the mosque in 1992.

However, another accused in the case Kalyan Singh, who was BJP’s chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when the mosque was demolished and is currently the governor of western state of Rajasthan, will be prosecuted once he demits the constitutional office.

The Supreme Court has also ordered that the trial in the case would have to be completed within two years and the judge at the Lucknow trial court who will hear the case and give the judgment can’t be transferred in between the hearings.

The demolition of the mosque came after a movement led in part by Advani for a temple to be built on the same spot where the masjid was constructed by the Mughals. Many Hindus believe the mosque was built over the birthplace of Lord Ram, a Hindu God and that’s why they want a temple over there.