A court fails to explain why he will not face justice over the 1992 attack, which led to 3,000 deaths in religious violence An Indian court yesterday dismissed charges against Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani in a controversial case relating to the 1992 demolition of a mosque by Hindu zealots in Ayodhya. But the special court in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh ordered seven other Hindu nationalist leaders, including Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, to go on trial on October 10. Although the charges against each leader were not specified, they include incitement to riot and unlawful assembly. As supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gathered in the courtroom, Judge V.K. Singh said: 'Advani is discharged.' He gave no reasons for throwing out the charges of incitement and unlawful assembly against the powerful leader, widely seen as a successor to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Mr Vajpayee is on an official visit to Turkey. The BJP came to power largely on the back of the movement, taken up by Mr Advani in 1989, to build a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ram in place of the Mughal mosque. While Mr Vajpayee stayed away, both Mr Advani and Mr Joshi were present near the mosque on December 6, 1992, when a Hindu mob tore it down. About 3,000 people were killed in the subsequent religious violence that culminated in a series of bomb blasts in India's business capital, Mumbai, in March 1993. But while Mr Advani was let off, the court decided to charge his arch rival in the government, Mr Joshi, along with two other top BJP leaders and four others from an associated organisation, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or World Hindu Council, which has been at the forefront of the Ayodhya temple movement. While Mr Advani has lately distanced himself from radical Hindu groups, Mr Joshi is still regarded as being very close to the council and its parent body, the powerful Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or National Volunteer Corps. 'It's a matter of great surprise that one minister has been let off while another will be charged,' council leader Praveen Togadia said. 'The chief [who led the campaign] is let off, while the others will be in the dock.' But BJP leaders, who were clearly anxious about the political consequences for both government and party if a prominent leader like Mr Advani were to be charged, were relieved by the court's decision. BJP president Venkiah Naidu alleged that the case was 'foisted against our party leaders' as the Congress Party, then in power, wanted to 'persecute' them politically. 'The party is of the opinion that this is a false case, politically motivated,' he said. He said the party did not expect Mr Joshi to resign from government. 'There are no allegations of corruption which could compromise a minister's continuance in office,' Mr Naidu said. But a day before the court's decision, Mr Joshi created a stir by declaring he would resign if the charges went ahead. His declaration was seen as a pre-emptive move to ensure that Mr Advani was also made to leave government if the judge's orders went against him. But now that Mr Advani has been let off, it is now up to Mr Vajpayee to decide what to do with Mr Joshi.