Statements of eye witnesses and victims are admissible in criminal cases. But the judge has ignored the depositions of people who have been eye-witness to the crime, says Zafaryad Jilani
Shaheen Nazar | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has declared that it will challenge Wednesday’s verdict of the Special CBI Court acquitting all the 32 accused in the 1992 case of demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
The court ruled out criminal conspiracy theory, and held that the demolition was a spontaneous act and not pre-planned. The court also ruled that there was not sufficient evidence against any of the 32 accused, including former deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, former union minister Murli Manohar Joshi, ex-Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti.
But AIMPLB Secretary Zafaryab Jilani said he did not agree with the ruling. “We will appeal against the judgment in the High Court,” Jilani told Clarion India over the phone from Lucknow.
Jilani said he had presented before the CBI court two residents of Ayodhya who are direct victims of Babri demolition. But the Special Court Judge, S.K. Yadav, had refused to entertain them. Jilani said that the ruling would be challenged on their behalf in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High court.
He said statements of eye witnesses and victims were admissible in criminal cases. But the judge had ignored the depositions of people who had been eye-witness to the crime. “Those who have deposed in the court are well known and respected people of our society. How can he say that there is no evidence?” asked Jilani who has been pursuing the Babri case ever since its doors were opened in 1986.
Jilani gave the names of some of the important persons who had deposed against the accused like Advani and Joshi. Among them are senior journalists and an IPS officer of the rank of DIG. Anjus Gupta, an IPS officer who was on security duty with Advani, had deposed against the veteran BJP leader before a special court in Rae Bareli in 2010, saying that Advani made a “provocative speech” in Ayodhya before the mosque was attacked and demolished by a mob.
Similarly, advocates Awadesh Kumar Upadhyay and Jeetendra Kumar Mishra as well as journalists Sharat Chandra Pradhan, Chandra Kishore Mishra, Ajay Kumar, Renu Mittal, Naiyer Zaidi and dozens of others had given their eye-witness accounts of the events leading to the Babri demolition.
“Today’s verdict is a set-back to not only Muslims, but to every citizen of India who believes in rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution. As a citizen, it is our duty to ensure that those guilty of a criminal act like demolition of a religious place are brought to book,” Jilani said.
Prominent Sunni cleric and All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali was quoted by IANS news agency as saying that everyone knew how the “Babri masjid was demolished in full public view” and the “law of the land was shredded to pieces”.
“The Muslims, in this country, have always respected court decisions. In the final judgment of the Babri masjid case, the court had clearly said that the Muslims had been wrongly deprived of a mosque that had been constructed well over 450 years ago. Then the Supreme Court also said that it was an unlawful destruction. However, if there was a criminal conspiracy, it had to be decided by the court. Now, Muslim organisations will sit together and decide whether the Special CBI court’s acquittal judgment has to be appealed against or not,” he said.