BJP stalwart LK Advani, acquitted of conspiracy charges in the 1992 Babri mosque demolition, said today that the judgment vindicated his and the BJP's belief and commitment towards the Ram temple movement. He also said he had chanted "Jai Shri Ram" after the verdict, describing it as a "moment of happiness for all of us".
"The judgement vindicates my personal and the BJP's belief and commitment towards the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. I also feel blessed that this judgment has come in the footsteps of another landmark verdict of the Supreme Court given in November 2019, which paved the way for my long cherished dream of seeing a grand Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, the foundation-laying ceremony of which was held on August 5," Mr Advani, 92, said in a statement.
He said he "wholeheartedly welcomed the significant judgment". He added: "Along with millions of my countrymen, I now look forward to the completion of the beautiful Ram Mandir in Ayodhya."
A special CBI court in Lucknow, acquitting all 32 accused in the case including Mr Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh of conspiracy charges, said the Babri mosque on December 6, 1992, was not planned.
"Anti-social elements brought down the structure. The accused tried to stop the demolition," said special CBI judge SK Yadav, saying that audio and video evidence produced by the CBI did not establish the charges against the leaders.
In the months building up to the cataclysmic event, Mr Advani took out Rath Yatras throughout the nation to pitch for a Ram temple at the site of the mosque - a campaign that catapulted the BJP to the national stage.
In a historic ruling in November last year, the Supreme Court handed over the site claimed by both Hindus and Muslims for the building of a Ram temple. The groundbreaking ceremony took place earlier this year, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi performing rituals.
Mr Advani recorded his statement before the special CBI court through video conference on July 24. He was asked 100 questions. Both he and Mr Joshi denied all charges against them.
In an interview to NDTV in 2000, Mr Advani described the Babri mosque razing as a "terrible mistake" and said: "Till today, frankly, I do not know whether it was mob fury, a mob going out of control or a small determined group which did not agree with the leadership of the movement who thought that this should be done, I'm not clear in my mind."