Ram Mandir- Babri Masjid Dispute: Timeline
New Delhi: As the Supreme Court decided to revive the criminal conspiracy charges against BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti in the case relating to the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992, the issue which has been dormant all these days came to light once again.
The disputed site of Ram Mandir and Babri Masjid still continues to be a sentimental issue as it is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Rama. It is believed that a mosque was constructed during Mughal Emperor Babar’s rule. It was razed by Kar Sevaks and a makeshift temple was built in its place.
The case was pending for six years as the court froze the verdict by Allahabad Court, which stated that Lord Ram was born under the dome of the mosque and Hindus have a right to worship there.
In this context, a bird’s eye view of the uneasy history of the holy site would help understand the issue in proper perspective. Here it is:
1528: Babri Masjid was built in Ayodhya on a site which many Hindus consider as the place of birth of Lord Rama.
1853: The first ever recorded violent clashes broke out at the religious site
1859: British rulers create fences to separate worship place at the same site. Muslims were allowed to use the inner court while the Hindus used the outer court.
1949: As the idols of Lord Ram appeared inside the Mosque, the government announced the site as disputed and locked the gates. Both Muslims and Hindus accusing each other filed suits.
1984: To liberate the birth place of Lord Rama and build a temple Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) formed a committee. The movement was led by the BJP leader L K Advani.
1986: As the district judges ordered to open the gates of the masjid and allowed Hindus worship there, Muslims too formed Babri Mosque Action Committee.
1989: Adjacent to the disputed Masjid site, VHP laid the foundation stone to construct a Ram Mandir.
1990: The Masjid was partially demolished by members of VHP. The then PM Chandra Shekhar failed to resolve the issue through consultations.
1992: Communal violence erupted after the mosque was demolished by VHP supporters, the Shiv Sena and the BJP. Over two thousand people died in riots.
2001: Tensions rose as VHP vowed to erect a structure for Lord Rama at the site on the demolition anniversary of the mosque.
Jan 2002: To hold consultations with Hindu and Muslim leaders, the then PM Atal Behari Vajpayee created Ayodhya Cell at PMO and appointed Shatrughan Sinha as a senior official.
Feb 2002: A deadline was set by VHP to begin the construction of Ram Mandir. The BJP decided not to include the issue in the manifesto for UP Assembly elections. Hindu activists returning from Ayodhya in a train were attacked in Godhra and over 58 people were killed.
Mar 2002: In the riots followed by the Godhra incident in Gujarat, nearly thousand to fifteen hundred people were reportedly killed.
Apr 2002: The three-judge Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High court begun hearings of the case.
Jan 2003: Archaeologists begin a court-ordered survey to find out if a Ram Temple existed on the site.
Aug 2003: The survey finds evidence of temple beneath the masjid, but, Muslim group disputed the findings.
Sept 2003: A court ruling charged seven Hindu leaders and said they should stand trial in demolition case. However, no charges were brought against Advani who was present at the site during the incident.
Nov 2004: As senior leader L K Advani announced in October 2004 that his party was committed to building the Ram Mandir, a Uttar Pradesh court ruled that exoneration of LK Advani by a previous ruling should be reviewed.
July 2005: Security forces killed five suspected militants as they attacked the disputed site with an explosive-laden jeep.
July 2007: The Supreme Court refused to admit a review petition on the case
July 2009: Seventeen years after it began an enquiry, the Liberhan Commission filed its report on demolition.
Nov 2009: The content of the commission reports was made public and an uproar in the Parliament ensued as the report indicted many leading BJP politicians.
Sept 2010: Allahabad High court ruled giving possession of one-third area each to Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akharas. As it also gave the disputed area, a lawyer belonging to Muslim community decided to appeal.
May 2011: As both Hindu and Muslim groups appealed against the High Court ruling, the apex court suspended it.
March 2017: The Supreme Court which said that the charges against BJP leader L K Advani and others cannot be dropped in demolition and felt that the case may be revived.
The Supreme Court on March 21 said that the matter is sensitive and should be settled out of the court. It asked both the parties to hold talks and find an amicable solution.
April18, 2017: The Supreme Court says Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti and others should face the trial at Lucknow court. The apex court transfers Advani’s case from Rae Bareilly court to Lucknow court.