Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi left for Lucknow on Tuesday to appear before a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition case, ANI reported. Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has also been summoned to appear before the court along with BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Vishnu Hari Dalmia and Sadhvi Ritambara.

Bharti compared the Babri Masjid incident to protests against the Emergency and said she did not know what the charges against her were. “Babar was a foreigner who had nothing to do with India. Media should not repeatedly call it ‘Babri’. It is Ram Janmbhoomi,” said BJP Unnao MP and accused in the case, Sakshi Maharaj.

A special CBI court will frame charges against six people – LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Cabinet minister Uma Bharti, MP Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambhara and Vishnu Hari Dalmiya – for their alleged role in the conspiracy behind the Babri Masjid demolition on December 6, 1992. The case was transferred from Raebareli to Lucknow on the direction of the Supreme Court last month.

On May 25, the court had deferred the framing of charges against six Sangh Parivar leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case to May 30 as only one of them appeared before it. The accused were asked by the court to appear on May 30 for the framing of charges and added that no further adjournment would be allowed.

Nritya Gopal Das, Ram Vilas Vendanti, Baikunth Lal Sharma, Champat Rai Bansal, Mahant Dharam Das and Satish Pradhan had to be present before the special CBI court on May 25. However, only Pradhan appeared before the court, while the others sought exemption. Pradhan pleaded the court to frame the charges against him as it was difficult for him to walk owing to illness. CBI judge SK Yadav said that as all the six accused were not present collectively, it was not possible to frame charges against only one. The court denied exemption and directed them to appear before it on May 30.

In 2001, the special CBI court had dropped conspiracy charges against the leaders. The order was upheld by Allahabad High Court in 2010. In its April 19, 2017 order, the Supreme Court had asked the CBI court to restore the conspiracy charges against Advani and the others.

On December 6, 1992, the mosque was demolished by lakhs of karsevakswho had gathered at the site from across the country. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country. The karsevaks had claimed that the land on which the mosque stood was the birthplace of Ram.