Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday met senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani, who is scheduled to record his statement in the Babri Masjid demolition case on Friday, July 24, PTI reported.
Shah was accompanied by government lawyers as he met the 92-year-old at his residence, according to the news agency.
The Babri Masjid, located in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, was demolished by Hindutva extremists on December 6, 1992, because they believed that it stood on land that was the birthplace of deity Ram.
Advani and fellow BJP leaders Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi have been accused of criminal conspiracy in the case. Special judge SK Yadav will record Joshi’s statement on Thursday.
In July last year, the Supreme Court had said that the trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case must be completed within nine months, that is, by April this year. However, on May 8, it extended the deadline for the trial court to pronounce its judgement till August 31.
On April 19, 2017, the top court had ordered day-to-day trial in the case, and said it should be concluded within two years. The court had also restored criminal conspiracy charges filed against Advani and Joshi along with Vinay Katiar, Sadhvi Ritambara and Vishnu Hari Dalmia. It restored charges against several other Hindutva leaders who had earlier been acquitted in the case. Three other high-profile accused – Giriraj Kishore, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia – died during trial and the proceedings against them were abated.
In a landmark verdict in November, the Supreme Court had ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya would be handed over to a government-run trust for the construction of a Ram temple. The court said that the demolition of Babri Masjid was illegal and directed the government to acquire an alternative plot of land to build a mosque.
The foundation-laying ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya will be held on August 5, PTI reported. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited for the ceremony.