LUCKNOW: It was like any other Wednesday morning - the only difference being that there was a judgment in store after a prolonged 28-year legal battle over the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
The Special CBI court on the old High Court premises was throbbing with activity. The cops were busy maintaining the security cordon. Media persons and shutterbugs relegated to an area around 200-metre away from the court building were seen scrambling. Every one wanted the best view of the action, including the arrival and exit of the accused, many of them in saffron robes.
Twenty-six of the 32 accused reached the court by 11 am. Sadhvi Ritambhara draped in saffron was among the first to arrive, striding in with confidence and chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' while greeting everyone with folded hands.
Others like Pawan Pandey drew the attention of media persons as he came in thumping his chest and shouting "we are ready. This is all for Ram Lalla." Pandey, one of the accused is a Shiv Sainik who has been a BJP lawmaker as well.
The sense of confidence among the accused was palpable. Even the scenes inside the courtroom underlined this.
The accused were seated keeping in mind the social distancing norms that are being followed during the pandemic.
As the accused settled down, in walked special judge Surendra Kumar Yadav. Soon, Justice Yadav read out the judgment that acquitting all since there was "not enough evidence to suggest that the Babri demolition was pre-planned".
The accused who were in court congratulated each other. While bonhomie prevailed inside the court room, a few chants of 'Jai Shri Ram' began to be heard outside once the news filtered through.
After stepping out of the courtroom, Brijbhushan Saran Singh, BJP MP from Kaiserganj, called it a welcome judgment and along expected lines. A thrilled Sadhvi Ritambhara with exuberance in her voice proclaimed that truth had come through clear and shining like the Sun.
"The political conspiracy against us has failed today. We had faith in the judiciary. We don't hatch conspiracy but chant mantras. The judgment is welcomed," she said.
In other parts of the state, especially in Ayodhya, jubilation filled the air. Saints and seers, who were conducting 'yajnas' amid the chanting of mantras during the delivery of verdict, congratulated each other. The BJP and VHP workers celebrated by distributing sweets to each other. Around 5.25 tonnes of laddu was distributed in Ayodhya by various mutts, Akaharas and chhavnis of seers.
One of the main accused Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, chairman of the temple trust, joined the proceedings through video conferencing as he could not be present in court since he was recovering from COVID-19.
WATCH | Not enough evidence to suggest Babri demolition was pre-planned: Court acquits all accused