Ahead of the court hearing on the Babri Masjid case, Union Minister Uma Bharti told the press that she does not consider herself a criminal. "This was an open movement like the one that gathered momentum against the imposition of emergency. I don't see from where did the conspiracy angle creep in," Bharti told ANI.
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 30, 2017
Sakshi Maharaj, another BJP leader and accused in the case also reasserted that he did not think that he did anything wrong by being a part of the movement that led to the demolition of the Babri mosque.
"I didn't do anything wrong. In fact, I am sure that it was a very pious thing to do. This is not about Babar, the foreigner, or the mosque built by him. This was a Ram Mandir and nothing in the world can stop us from building a temple there," Sakhsi Maharaj told CNN-News 18, moments before the case's hearing.
The case assumes significance as a special CBI court will finally frame charges against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Bharati among others for their alleged role in the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. The BJP stalwarts are accused of criminal conspiracy, inciting riots, damaging public property etc amid others.
Charges would also be framed against Sadhwi Ritambhara, BJP MP Vinay Katiyar and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Vishnu Hari Dalmia.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath reached the government guest house in Lucknow to meet Advani ahead of the hearing. The BJP has firmly thrown in its weight behind the accused leaders, reiterating that the party will not interfere in the course of justice but will ensure that the Ram temple is made in place of the disputed structure. The issue of Ram temple even reappeared in the BJP's manifesto ahead of the Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Last week, the counsel of the accused had moved a plea in the court to exempt Advani, Joshi and Bharati from personal appearance, but it was turned down.
Charges against six others accused in the matter — Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Baikunth Lal Sharma, Dharm Das, Champat Rai Bansal and Shiv Sena's Satish Pradhan, who were granted bail, will also be framed on Tuesday.
All the accused are facing charges of conspiring to bring down the mosque.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had opposed dropping the charges against these leaders in the Supreme Court after which the the apex court directed the special CBI court in Lucknow to hold daily hearings on the 25-year-old matter and wrap it up within two years.
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Updated Date: May 30, 2017 11:52:55 IST