- In Babri Masjid case, top court orders tougher charges for BJP seniors
- Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti among those to be tried for conspiracy
- Judges order daily hearings, call for verdict within 2 years
Ms Bharti, who is the Union Water Resources Minister, announced that she would travel tomorrow to Ayodhya, but was asked to cancel her plans this evening by party chief Amit Shah. Her change in itinerary will be attributed to her campaigning for the BJP in Delhi ahead of crucial local elections next week. But party sources said that after the top court's ruling, BJP leaders want to be cautious and "exercise restraint."
Sources have said that BJP chief Amit Shah has assured Mr Advani that the party stands behind him.
The mosque was torn down by lakhs of karsevaks or volunteers after a movement that was led in part by Mr Advani, calling for a temple to Lord Ram to be built in Ayodhya. Many Hindus believe that the mosque stood over the exact spot of the deity's birth.
Ms Bharti has denied the charges of conspiracy, and said that she has openly declared that it is her dream to see the temple built.
The charges against the BJP leaders, brought by the CBI, had been blocked by the Allahabad High Court. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the investigating agency today and transferred the leaders' trial to a Lucknow court where about 20 people are accused of the actual destruction of the mosque. Judges today ordered daily hearings and said a verdict must be delivered within two years.
The CBI has said that just before the mosque was raised, Mr Advani and others met and decided that it would be brought down.
The demolition triggered massive communal riots across the country.
The BJP's manifesto says that it remains committed to building the temple in Ayodhya within the framework of the constitution and in accordance with the Supreme Court, which is deciding whether the disputed site belongs to Hindu or Muslim organisations based in Ayodhya.