A top Indian court on Tuesday closed all proceedings relating to the 2002 riots in the western state of Gujarat, which killed over a thousand people, as well as the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid.
Hearing in the 2002 Gujarat riots case, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India led by Chief Justice UU Lalit stated that cases have now become infructuous with the passage of time and that trials in eight of nine cases have concluded.
The bench observed: “Since all matters have now become infructuous, this court is of the view that this Court need not entertain these petitions any longer. The matters are therefore disposed of as being infructuous.”
The Gujarat riots were sparked by a fire in a train in Godhra in 2002, which killed 59 Hindu pilgrims coming from Ayodhya. Muslims were blamed by Hindus for their role in the train fire.
Immediately after the tragedy, Hindu rioters hacked and burned to death over 1,000 Muslims.
Meanwhile, another bench of the apex court ordered the suspension of all proceedings in the 1992 demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
While mentioning that a larger bench of the Supreme Court had already pronounced a verdict on the Ayodhya matter, a bench of three judges stated that “nothing survives in the matter now.”
The 400-year-old Babri Masjid was razed to the ground on Dec. 6, 1992, by a large group of activists from the Hindu nationalist organization Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
They claimed the mosque was built on the birthplace of the deity Ram.
The Supreme Court, which issued the ownership decision in Nov. 2019, disagreed that the mosque was built on any demolished temple.
The mosque was built on Emperor Babur’s orders in 1528 by Mughal Kingdom military officer Mir Baqi.
It was targeted after a political rally involving approximately 150,000 Hindu activists and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) volunteers gathered at the site turned violent.
A subsequent investigation into the incident identified 68 people responsible, including many senior leaders of the ruling BJP and the VHP, who allegedly delivered provocative speeches inciting the mob to knock down the structure.
The superior court judgment upset the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), an umbrella group of various Muslim organizations.
AIMMM President Navaid Hamid told Anadolu Agency that the court has favored the perpetrators of the Babri mosque demolition over the aggrieved party, the Muslim community.
“As well as the perpetrators of the Gujarat riots in 2022. The judgment encouraged violent offenders while simultaneously disheartening the aggrieved party and may pave the way for an atmosphere of losing hope in the judiciary,” he asserted.
Shamshad Pathan, a Gujarat-based activist and lawyer, told Anadolu Agency, “We were hoping for justice from the highest court, but it has decided to close everything.”
“I don’t have anything to say. I’m quite disappointed,” he remarked.