SK Yadav, Special CBI judge, given extension ahead of Babri Masjid demolition case verdict

New Delhi: SK Yadav, the special CBI judge who was due to retire in 2019, was given an extension to pronounce the verdict in the high-profile Babri Mosque demolition case on Wednesday. All 32 accused in the case were acquitted citing “lack of evidence” against them for hatching the alleged conspiracy. The court also observed that the 1992 demolition was not “pre-planned.”

The district and sessions judge of the CBI court in Lucknow has been conducting daily hearings in the case since 2017 following an order by the Supreme Court. The 60-year-old judge was to retire in 2019, but he has been given extensions by the top court to hear the high- profile case which he has been handling since 2015.

The hearings – which involved evidence from 351 CBI witnesses and about 600 exhibits – had ended on September 1 and the judge had started writing the judgment from the very next day to meet the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

In April 2017, the top court had asked the special court to complete the trial within two years with daily hearings. Later, it was given several extensions and when the judge asked for more time, the court had extended the deadline to September 30.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Wednesday said that it is not satisfied with the special CBI verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition and it will appeal against it in the higher court. AIMPLB secretary Zafaryab Jilani said that the judgment pronounced by the special CBI court in the Babri Demolition case is wrong.

“We will appeal against the judgment in the High Court,” said the lawyer who was also part of the Babri Action Committee.

Mohammad Iqbal Ansari, the Babri Masjid litigant, on Wednesday welcomed the special CBI court verdict in the Babri Mosque demolition and said that its good that the trial is over now.

Welcoming the verdict, Ansari said, “It’s good that this is now over. Let’s all live in peace. Let there be no fresh trouble of this nature. Hindu and Muslim have always lived in peace in Ayodhya.”

The demolition of the 15th Century mosque has been a watershed moment for the country, costing more than 3,000 lives in the riots that followed. Mughal emperor Babar is said to have ordered the construction of the mosque after pulling down a temple that marked the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.

On December 6, 1992, thousands of Kar Sevaks had pulled it down following a long campaign by the BJP that was escalated by a series of rath yatras held by senior BJP leader LK Advani.

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