All you need to know about Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid case

Representative image. (DH photo)

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous verdict on Saturday, paved the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.

Follow live updates of Supreme Court's verdict on Ayodhya

Babri Masjid was embroiled in a controversy for the first time in the 1850s, when religious violence took place in the nearby mosque at Hanuman Garhi, and slowly, it engulfed the Masjid as well as it was attacked by mob. In 1885, a person named Mahant Raghubar Das filed a suit seeking permission to built a Ram temple at the disputed site, a plea that was turned down by the court for the fear of riots. Since then,  many Hindu groups have demanded sanction to build a temple there, a place believed by them to be the birthplace of Lord Rama and popularly known as Ramadurg or Ramkot. 

In 1946, Akhil Bharatiya Ramayana Mahasabha (ABRM) started an agitation, and it was joined by Sant Digvijay Nath of Gorakhnath Math in 1949. Idols of Rama and Sita were placed inside the mosque and people started to worship there. The date of the event was December 22, 1949.

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The then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to remove the idols but the local authorities decided against it and allowed the idols to remain inside the temple, where the priests were given the consent to perform daily worship. Both the Sunni Wakf Board and the ABRM filed civil suits in a local court staking their respective claim to the site. The land was declared to be under dispute, and the gates remained locked. 
 

 

 

From 1950-1970

From 1950 to 1961, four suits were filed regarding the disputed site. 

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In 1951, G S Visharad of Hindu Mahasabha and Paramhans Ramachandra Das filed suits demanding the right to worship and to thwart the administration from removing the idols respectively. Both the pleas were upheld by a trial court, which was subsequently confirmed by the Allahabad High Court in 1955. 
In 1959, Nirmohi Akhara filed the third suit seeking the right to worship and the management of the disputed site. In 1961, the Sunni Central Wakf Board filed the fourth suit seeking to remove the idols and posses the site, which they withdrew in 1964. 
 

Ramjanmabhoomi- Babri Masjid through the '80s

In the 1980s, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) launched a movement to reclaim the land which was bolstered by the then newly formed Bharatiya Janata Party. In 1986, the gates were reponed on the orders of the Faizabad district court, which boosted the already growing movement. 

In September 1990, BJP leader LK Advani started a Rath Yatra to garner support for the movement, which resulted in communal riots. 

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When was Babri Masjid demolished?

On December 6, 1992, the VHP and BJP, organised a rally involving 150,000 VHP and BJP kar sevaks at the site. BJP leaders like Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and Uma Bharti delivered speeches. The mob stormed the mosque and razed down the structure. The riots after the demolition claimed more than 2000 lives. 
Ten days after the demolition, the Congress government at the Centre, headed by PV Narasimha Rao, set up a commission of inquiry under Justice Liberhan. The  Liberhan Commission submitted its report on June 30, 2009, almost 17 years after it began its inquiry, the contents of which were not made public. 

Criminal cases were filed against Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and other prominent leaders. In 2001, a special judge dropped the charges against 13 accused, including those against Advani and Joshi. 

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2010 High Court verdict on Ayodhya dispute

In 2010, the Allahabad High Court awarded two-third of the land to Hindu parties and the remaining to Wakf board, a decision that was stayed by the Supreme Court of India in 2011. 
In 2017, the Supreme Court reinstated the criminal charges against Advani and Joshi and called for an out of the court settlement. 

 

 

The scenario today

On March 8, 2019,  the Supreme Court referred the case for mediation, and the panel submitted its report on August 1. Unable to find a solution, the apex court began hearing of the case, and it was concluded on October 16. The bench granted three days to contesting parties to file written notes on 'moulding of relief' or narrowing down the issues on which the top court is required to adjudicate. 

Also read — Timeline of Ayodhya Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute

The top court had reserved its judgement on October 16 in the legal battle, where both the Hindu and Muslim sides made their arguments for 40 days to lay their claims over 2.77 acres of land. A five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi would pass the judgement in the matter on November 9 which has seen both the Hindu and Muslims make high-pitched arguments.
 

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