India’s top court orders trial against four leaders of the ruling Hindu chauvinist BJP party over 1992 famous Babri mosque destruction.
LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh will now face trial for conspiracy over the mob attack on the 16th-century Babri mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
The court said that the trial will held in Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh state capital.
A separate case is already underway involving about 20 people accused of the actual demolition of the mosque.
The Supreme Court has said that both trials should be combined and a final verdict reached within two years
The four — L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh — have said that the mosque’s demolition was a spontaneous eruption by angry Hindu activists. Advani, now 89, has served as India’s home minister and deputy prime minister. He also served as president of the BJP. Joshi and Bharti are both federal lawmakers, and Bharti is also member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet.
The attack on the mosque in Ayodhya, 350 miles (550 kilometres) east of New Delhi, sparked the largest explosion of Hindu-Muslim violence in the country in decades, leaving 2,000 people dead. Thousands more died in later violence caused by disputes over the site. BJP leaders want to build a new temple to Ram on the site.
The Supreme Court overruled a lower court decision to drop charges against the accused. It followed demands from the Central Bureau of Investigation that the conspiracy charges against the senior party leaders be reinstated.
“We have allowed the CBI appeal against the Allahabad High Court Judgment with certain directions,” Supreme Court judges said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
Hindu activists believe that a temple marking the birthplace of their god Ram had been destroyed to make way for the Babri mosque. They have called for the construction of a new temple honoring Ram on the disputed site.