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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Advani to stand trial on Ayodhya
Hindus at Babri Mosque in 1992
The destruction of the Babri mosque sparked nationwide riots
An Indian high court has ordered opposition leader LK Advani to stand trial for his role in the demolition of a mosque that sparked religious riots.

The court in Allahabad in northern Uttar Pradesh state overturned a lower court ruling in 2003 that the former deputy premier had no case to answer.

Mr Advani is accused of inciting Hindu fanatics to attack the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in 1992.

More than 2,000 people were killed in religious violence that followed.

The Ayodhya site in Uttar Pradesh remains deeply disputed between Hindus and Muslims - on Tuesday six gunmen stormed the complex.

One blew himself up and the others were killed during a two-hour gun battle with police.

Lower court

Mr Advani, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has always denied any wrongdoing over the destruction of the mosque in 1992.

LK Advani
Mr Advani will lead protests at Ayodhya over the latest attack

A local state court had in 2003 acquitted him while ordering seven others, including a former minister, Murli Manohar Joshi, to stand trial.

The Allahabad decision follows a petition filed by two Muslims - Hashim Ansari and Mehboob Ali - who argued Mr Advani could not be exonerated while the trial of the other seven continued.

Mr Advani was instructed to appear with the others before a lower court on 28 July.

However, he can appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the latest ruling.

Mr Advani joined Hindu nationalist protesters in Delhi on Wednesday to demonstrate against Tuesday's attack.

He has also said he will travel to Ayodhya to lead protests there.

Mr Advani was leader of the opposition at the time of the destruction of the mosque and many commentators believe the incident caused him to lose out to Atal Behari Vajpayee as BJP prime minister in 1999.


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