The verdict will prove if the 32 accused, including veteran BJP leaders such LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh are innocent of leading the demolition or not. But for the Muslims involved in the case as prosecuting witnesses, a favourable verdict could mean redemption after the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment last year on the Ram Janmbhoomi- Babri Masjid title suit paved the way for building of a Ram temple on the mosque site.
Key prosecution witness Haji Mehboob, who was also a petitioner in the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid title suit, said the accused must be punished as all witnesses have spoken against them and it was they who had led the demolition of the mosque.
“Even in last year’s Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid title suit, the Supreme Court had admitted to the fact that the idol of Ram was placed inside the mosque (in 1949) and that the mosque was demolished (in 1992). Even then the verdict was in the favour of the Ram temple and we accepted it,” Mehboob told ET from Ayodhya. “A verdict in the other direction would be injustice and signal that the government will have been at play while deciding on the matter,” said Mehboob.
However, the apex court had also accepted that Hindus had originally worshipped the inner courtyard, on which the demolished mosque stood, as the birthplace of Lord Ram.
Experts have said with the option of challenging the verdict in higher courts open to them, even if the accused are convicted, it is unlikely that the long pending matter will end with Wednesday’s verdict.
It is also unlikely whether Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharti will be physically present in the court.
While Advani and Joshi may be unable to come citing their age amid the pandemic, Bharti is already admitted in AIIMS Rishikesh after she was tested positive for Covid-19. However, in a letter to BJP chief JP Nadda on Saturday, Bharti had said she will not seek bail and is ready to be hanged if found guilty.
Apart from former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh, no other accused has produced any document or witness in their defence. However, both Advani and Joshi had denied involvement in the case.
Regional Organisation minister of Awadh province for the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) Ambarish told ET that the organisation has never disrespected the court’s decision and it is not one to take to the streets or give inappropriate statements about it.