Bharatiya Janata Party leader Uma Bharti, who has been accused of conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case, on Friday said that she will will attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on August 5.
“I have just been asked by the senior officer of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas of Ayodhya to reach the city by the evening of August 4 and according to his instructions, I will have to stay in Ayodhya till August 6,” Bharti wrote on Twitter.
Senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, also facing charges in the case, have received their invitations over the phone, unidentified officials from the Ram temple trust told NDTV. Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh will also be a part of the ceremony.
According to India Today, Advani and Joshi will attend the event through videoconference because of health reasons.
Tight security arrangements have put in place Ayodhya as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend the foundation ceremony. The local administration will also implement strict coronavirus safety measures. A priest and 16 police officers on duty in the city had tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday. A total of 200 people will be allowed to attend the ceremony.
Ayodhya Senior Superintendent of Police Deepak Kumar told ANI that more than five people will not be allowed to gather at one place. “We’ve also planned route diversions at 12 places to ease traffic movement,” he said.
A landmark Supreme Court verdict in November had paved the way for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The 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 had also 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 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.
On July 2, Bharti had appeared before a special Central Bureau of Investigation court for recording her statement. Meanwhile, Advani recorded his statement through video-conference before special CBI judge SK Yadav on July 24 and denied his role in the incident. The veteran BJP leader was asked over 100 questions, according to his lawyer KK Mishra. Joshi, the former BJP president, recorded his statement a day before Advani.
The special CBI court is conducting day-to-day hearing in the case to complete its trial by August 31, according to the Supreme Court’s orders.