Pakistan on Wednesday strongly condemned the acquittal of Hindu nationalist leaders, including former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani, in the Babri mosque demolition case.
The demolition, in 1992, sparked nationwide riots that killed more than 3,000 people in a decades-long dispute that has fuelled Hindu-Muslim tension, as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) campaign for Hindu renaissance helped
“Pakistan strongly condemns today’s shameful acquittal of the criminals responsible for demolishing the centuries-old Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992,” a press release issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) stated.
Handing down its verdict after a lengthy legal battle, the Indian court stated there was not enough evidence to directly tie any of the accused to the violence.
MoFA said that taking almost three decades to decide on the criminal act which, was televised live, and happened as a result of well-planned Rath Yatras and on the instigation of mobs by the accused officials of BJP, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other leaders of Sangh Parivar, tells the world that the Hindutva-inspired Indian judiciary miserably failed to deliver justice again.
“The demolition of the mosque had resulted in BJP-led communal violence leading to thousands of killings,” the communiqué stated. “If there was a semblance of justice in the so-called largest ‘democracy’, the individuals, who had boasted of the criminal act publicly, could not have been set free.”
The foreign ministry stressed that Indian court’s decision was yet another manifestation of the pliant judiciary under the extremist BJP-RSS regime in which extremist ‘Hindutva’ ideology took precedence overall principles of justice and international norms.
“A wrong direction was earlier set by the Indian Supreme Court’s partisan verdict last year by handing over the Babri Masjid premises for the building of Ram Mandir to the very Hindu parties which had demolished the historic mosque,” MoFA stated and added that the acquittal today was even against that verdict which had noted that the demolition was “an egregious violation of rule of law”.
These reprehensible developments with state complicity, coupled with RSS-BJP’s deep-rooted hatred against minorities, particularly Muslims, point to India’s fast descent into a Hindu Rashtra, where minorities have been relegated as second class citizens, the press release asserted.
“Wilful targeting of Muslims is rampant in today’s India -- ranging from efforts to disenfranchise Muslims under anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the looming National Register of Citizens (NRC), and a well-organized and orchestrated pogrom of Muslims in New Delhi with state complicity in February this year, to other anti-Muslim measures like demonising, dispossessing, marginalising and subjecting Muslims to targeted violence,” MoFA said.
It added that the BJP-RSS anti-Muslim agenda was most visible in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) which remains under continued military siege. The BJP continues to implement its sinister policies to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory.
“The RSS-BJP regime and the Sangh Parivar are responsible for the continued desecration and demolition of mosques in India in an organised manner as they did during the Gujarat massacre of 2002 and Delhi pogrom in 2020,” the foreign ministry stated and added that the attacks by Hindu zealots on places of worship of Muslims had continued even during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Emboldened by the flawed Ayodhya verdict, Hindu zealots supported by their RSS-patrons in power, are now seeking removal of the Shahi Idgah Masjid located next to Krishna Temple in Mathura as well as to give ownership of the entire 13.37 acres of land to the Krishna Temple complex,” the press release stated.
Pakistan urged the Indian government to ensure safety, security and protection of minorities, particularly Muslims and their places of worship and other Islamic sites on which the ‘Hindu extremists and zealots have laid claims’.
“The world community, the United Nations and relevant international organizations are expected to play their role in safeguarding the Islamic heritage sites in India from the extremist Hindutva regime and ensure the protection of religious rights of minorities in India,” the press release concluded.
The 32 accused faced charges under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including criminal conspiracy, rioting, promoting enmity between different groups and unlawful assembly.
Earlier it was reported that, during the trial, the CBI produced 351 witnesses and 600 documents as evidence before the court. Initially, the court had framed charges against 49 accused, however, 17 accused have since died.
Advani, who was then BJP chief, was among 32 people accused of criminal conspiracy and inciting a mob to tear down the mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya in 1992.
The mosque stood on a site revered by devout Hindus as the birthplace of deity Ram.
The court pinned the blame on miscreants mingled among the crowd instead, adding that leaders such as Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, another former cabinet minister, had tried to keep the mob from turning violent.
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