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Mayavati buries Advani’s Babri case

Lucknow, Sept. 17: An audacious attempt to give a public burial to a case involving some of India’s most powerful politicians unfolded in Uttar Pradesh today with chief minister Mayavati refusing to issue a fresh notification in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

One of the beneficiaries of the decision will be deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who is now striving to live down his role in the Ayodhya movement which transformed the BJP into a vote-winning political machine.

Others who stand to gain include Union ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti and some VHP leaders.

Unless the Supreme Court — whose September 24 deadline prompted Mayavati to make the announcement — orders a trial or the CBI, which reports to the PMO, moves on its own, it is unlikely that the cases against Advani and the others will be revived.

Mayavati tried to pacify her party’s Muslim supporters, saying the decision did not mean that the Bahujan Samaj Party was against the trial of those responsible for the mosque’s demolition. “If the CBI wants to go ahead, it need not wait for a fresh notification constituting a special court in Lucknow but file the chargesheet in the existing courts where the trial of other cases relating to (the) Babri mosque demolition is going on,” she said.

Advani is scheduled to address a BSP rally in Lucknow on September 28.

The decision drew flak from the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, which accused Mayavati of “shielding the wreckers of the Constitution”. In New Delhi, the BJP termed the decision “appropriate”.

“It’s a warning signal for the BSP’s Muslim legislators. Instead of sending leaders like Advani behind bars for demolition of the Babri mosque, she is honouring them by inviting them to address the BSP rally,” Samajwadi leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said.

Legal experts are divided over the long-term implications of the Mayavati government’s decision. However, if the Supreme Court accepts next week the state government’s decision, the trial of Advani and the others cannot be resumed in the near future.

Their trial has been held up since February 17 last year, when Allahabad High Court quashed on technical grounds a notification for the politicians’ prosecution in a CBI court.

Since then, all non-BJP parties, including the BSP, had been demanding that the state government issue a fresh notification as suggested by the high court.

Several writ petitions were later filed against the high court order in the Supreme Court, which asked the state government to clarify its stand by Tuesday.

The Mayavati government has submitted an affidavit in the apex court, listing reasons for not issuing the notification.

Claiming that she has taken a principled stand against “creation of special courts to try individuals”, Mayavati said: “The Congress and the Samajwadi Party were more responsible for making political capital out of the Ayodhya dispute and the BJP had come in (the) picture quite late”.

She pointed out that it was the Congress that was responsible for opening the locks of the disputed structure in 1986 and allowing shilanayas of the Ram temple in 1989. ( )

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