PRAYAGRAJ: Four of the five terror suspects, accused of plotting terror attack on the makeshift temple of Lord Ram in Ramjanmabhoomi- Babri Masjid complex on July 5, 2005, were awarded life imprisonment by a special court set up in Naini Central jail premises on Tuesday.
The court, however, acquitted the fifth accused for want of evidence after a trial of 14 years.
Five persons, including Dr Irrfan, Mohammad Shakeel, Mohammad Naseem, Asif Iqbal alias Farookh, Mohamad Aziz had been facing the trial in the case.
Pronouncing the verdict, Special Judge Dinesh Chand ordered life imprisonment for the four accused — Dr Irfan, Mohammad Shakeel, Mohammad Naseem, Asif Iqbal alias Farookh. While Mohamad Aziz was exonerated due to lack of evidence.
The judge also imposed a cumulative penalty of Rs 2,40,000, which is to be shared equally among the four accused who had been lodged in Naini jail so far.
As many as seven persons, including three CRPF jawans and four civilians, were killed in the dreaded attack, besides five terrorists who were gunned down by security forces after a gun battle of 90 minutes.
Seven CRPF jawans had sustained grave injuries in the attack.
Hailing the decision in the terror attack case, UP CM Yogi Adityanath said that legal opinion would be sought on one acquittal.
On July 5, 2005, the heavily guarded makeshift temple at Ram Janmabhumi –Babri Masjid complex was attacked by Laskar terrorists. Around 9.30 am, five ultras drove through the back alley, undetected in an explosive-laden four-wheeler. After exploding the RDX-laden vehicle, they reached the most protected area in the temple complex - the red zone, guarded by the CRPF.
As the vehicle went up in flames, the five men were already in attack position, throwing grenades at the security men stationed at the site and firing from their AK-47s. In the 90 minutes that followed, it was a close encounter of the worst kind.
With two-tier security, 13 watchtowers and a round-the-clock vigil by more than 1,400 policemen and paramilitary personnel, the Ram Janmabhoomi complex was one of the most heavily guarded premises.
At the time of the attack, the outer perimeter of the complex was being manned by 1,200 policemen of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) in 12 companies.
The inner perimeter, which covers the sanctum sanctorum housing the idol of Lord Ram, was guarded by 200 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), including a Quick Reaction Team comprising 30 armed personnel.
Here is a timeline of events
July 5, 2005: Five terrorists attacked makeshift Ram temple at Ram Janmabhoomi Babri-Masjid complex in Ayodhya.
All five were shot dead in the ensuing gunfight with the Central Reserve Force and cops of other security forces.
Four civilians including one believed to be the local guide of terror suspects died in the crossfire. CRPF suffered three casualties.
15 hand grenades, four AK-47 rifles, five AK-56 rifles, two 9 mm pistols and a rocket launcher recovered from the possession of slain ultras
July 28, 2005: Four persons -- Akbar Hussain, Lal Mohammad, Mohammad Naseer and Mohmmad Rafeeq – were arrested in connection with the attack from J&K.
August 3, 2005: Four more persons-- Asif Iqbal, Mohammed Aziz, Mohammed Nasim and Shaqeel Ahmed – were held. A fifth man, Dr Irfan Khan, was also rounded up.
All alleged accused were lodge in Central Naini jail of Prayagraj on the orders of Allahabad High court in 2006. A special court was set on jail premises to conduct hearing.
Around 63 witnesses deposed in the case. The hearing had completed on June 9, 2019.