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Indian court acquits 32 veteran politicians accused of inciting Hindu mob to destroy 16th-century Babri Masjid mosque in 1992

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ayodhya, India. August 5, 2020. India’s Press Information Bureau / Reuters
‘Instrument to unite the country’: India’s Modi lays Hindu temple foundation at Ayodhya site won after long dispute with Muslims

Commenting on the ruling, Advani said it “vindicates my personal and BJP’s belief and commitment toward the Ram Janmabhoomi movement,” referring to a 30-year-old campaign for the reconstruction of Hindu temples at Ayodhya.

The chief opposition party, the Indian National Congress, on the other hand, blasted the ruling. The party’s spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that in 1992 “the then-BJP government of Uttar Pradesh was a co-conspirator in the designed attack on India’s constitutional ethos.” Communist Party of India (Marxist) chief Sitaram Yechury called the ruling “a complete travesty of justice.”

The destruction of Babri Masjid had led to a decades-old bitter dispute as to whether a Hindu shrine or a new mosque should be built in Ayodhya. Last year, the Supreme Court sided with the Hindus, paving a way for a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Ram to be erected on the contested land.

The court cited historical records showing that Hindus were making pilgrimages and praying at the site before Babri Masjid was erected. The court also directed the government to give Muslims an alternative portion of land for their shrine.

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