Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his family arrived in Ayodhya for the Shiv Sena event in support of the Ram Temple. Ayodhya has turned into a fortress with high-security in place ahead of two mega events in support of the Ram Temple. The Shiv Sena and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) are organising separate events in Ayodhya over the next 48 hours. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will offer prayers at the Ram janmabhoomi, participate in the aarti by the Sarayu river and speak to seers, saints and locals. He is carrying a pot full of soil from the Shivneri fort in Pune, which will be handed over to the mahant or priest at the janmabhoomi.
Tomorrow's event, being organised by the VHP, is the bigger of the two events. It is being called "Dharma Sansad". Ahead of the event, the Vishva Hindu Parishad claimed that the event would be "the biggest congregation of saints and supporters of the Ram temple since 1992", when the Babri Masjid was razed. The agenda, they said, is to discuss the way forward for the construction of the Ram temple. The VHP assured that the supporters at the event will be "disciplined people".
Waiting for a court verdict on the issue, the Shiv Sena has demanded that an ordinance be passed by the government in Parliament, in order to speed up the process. The Shiv Sena said on Friday that "Those in power (BJP) should be proud of Shiv Sainiks who had "destroyed Babur's raj in Ram Janmabhoomi". The Babri Masjid was built in Ayodhya on the orders of Mughal emperor Babur and named after him.
Here are the LIVE Updates from Ayodhya:
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is on his way to Ayodhya on a two-day visit to the Uttar Pradesh city where big religious events are lined up, including one organised by Vishva Hindu Parishad. Some 3,000 Shiv Sena supporters are coming to Ayodhya in two trains from Maharashtra, people familiar with the matter said.
Uddhav Thackeray and his family took a flight to Faizabad from where they will drive down for an engagement at the Laxman Killa in Ayodhya, and later perform a 'maha-aarti' on the banks of Sarayu river this evening.
Here is a chronology of events in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in which the Supreme Court recently declined to refer the issue of reconsideration of its observation that mosque was not integral to Islam, to a larger bench:
1528: Babri Masjid built by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal invader and emperor Babur. The mosque, which was built on Babur's orders, was also named after him. Hindu groups say it was built after demolishing the Ram temple which used to be there at Lord Ram's birthplace (Ram Janmabhoomi). Ayodhya has been a place of religious importance for Hindus as it is considered the birthplace of Lord Ram.
1859: The British administration put a fence around the site marking separate areas of worship for Hindus and Muslims, and it stood that way for nearly 90 years.
1885: Mahant Raghubir Das files plea in Faizabad district court seeking permission to build a canopy outside the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure. Court rejects plea.
1949: Idols of Ram Lalla placed under a central dome at the disputed site.
1950: Gopal Simla Visharad files suit in Faizabad district court for rights to worship the idols of Ram Lalla.
1959: Nirmohi Akhara files suit seeking possession of the site.
1981: UP Sunni Central Waqf Board files suit for possession of the site.
1984: Hindu groups formed a committee to spearhead the construction of a Ram temple.
Feb 1, 1986: Local court orders the government to open the site for Hindu worshipers.
1986: Babri Mosque Action Committee was formed by Muslim groups.
Aug 14, 1989: Allahabad High Court ordered maintenance of status quo in respect of the disputed structure.
1989: Foundations of a temple were laid on land adjacent to the "disputed structure".
Dec 6, 1992: Babri Masjid structure demolished by Kar Sevaks. Ten days after the demolition, the Liberhan Commission was set to investigate the incident.
Apr 3, 1993: 'Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act' passed for acquisition of land by Centre in the disputed area.
1993: Various writ petitions, including one by Ismail Faruqui, filed at Allahabad HC challenging various aspects of the Act.
Oct 24, 1994: Supreme Court, in the historic Ismail Faruqui case, observed that a mosque was not integral to Islam.
Apr 2002: Allahabad High Court begins hearing on determining who owns the disputed site.
Mar 13, 2003: Supreme Court says, in the Aslam alias Bhure case, no religious activity of any nature be allowed at the acquired land.
Mar 14, 2003: Supreme Court says interim order passed should be operative till disposal of the civil suits in Allahabad High Court to maintain communal harmony.
Sept 2010: High Court, in a 2:1 majority, rules three-way division of disputed area between Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Waqf Board.
May 9, 2011: Supreme Court stays High Court verdict on Ayodhya land dispute.
Feb 26, 2016: BJP's Subramanian Swamy files plea in Supreme Court seeking construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site.
Mar 21, 2017: Then Chief Justice of India JS Khehar suggests out-of-court settlement among rival parties.
Aug 7, 2017: Supreme Court constitutes three-judge bench to hear pleas challenging the verdict of the Allahabad High Court.
Aug 8, 2017: UP Shia Central Waqf Board tells Supreme Court mosque could be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the disputed site.
Sept 11, 2017: Supreme Court directs Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court to nominate two additional district judges within ten days as observers to deal with the upkeep of the disputed site.
Nov 20, 2011: UP Shia Central Waqf Board suggests the Supreme Court that a Ram temple can be built in Ayodhya and a mosque can be built in Lucknow.
Dec 1, 2017: Thirty-two civil rights activists file plea challenging the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court.
Feb 8, 2018: Supreme Court starts hearing the civil appeals.
Mar 14, 2018: Supreme Court rejects all interim pleas, including Subramanian Swamy's, seeking to intervene as parties in the case.
Apr 6, 2018: Rajeev Dhavan files plea in Supreme Court to refer the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement to a larger bench.
Jul 6, 2018: UP government tells Supreme Court some Muslim groups were trying to delay the hearing by seeking reconsideration of an observation in the 1994 verdict.
Jul 20, 2018: Supreme Court says that it reserves the verdict.
Sept 27, 2018: Supreme Court declines to refer the case to a five-judge Constitution bench. Says that the case will be heard by a newly constituted three-judge bench on October 29, which will give the verdict after final hearings.
Oct 29, 2018: Due to "other priorities", Supreme Court pushes the hearing forward to January 2019.
Here is a brief history of the Ayodhya issue:
1) The Babri Masjid was built in Ayodhya in 1528 by Mughal invader Babur, and was named after him. Hindu groups say it was built after demolishing the Ram temple which used to be there at Lord Ram's birthplace (Ram Janmabhoomi). Ayodhya has been a place of religious importance for Hindus as it is considered the birthplace of Lord Ram.
2) In 1853, the first recorded communal clashes over the site took place. In 1859, the British administration put a fence around the site marking separate areas of worship for Hindus and Muslims, and it stood that way for nearly 90 years.
3) For the first time, the property dispute went to court in 1949 after idols of Lord Ram were placed put inside the mosque (Babri Masjid).
4) In 1984, Hindu groups formed a committee to spearhead the construction of a Ram temple. Three years later, a district court ordered the gates of the mosque to be opened after almost five decades and allowed Hindus to worship inside the "disputed structure." A Babri Mosque Action Committee was formed by Muslim groups. In 1989, foundations of a temple were laid on land adjacent to the "disputed structure".
5) In 1990, the then BJP president LK Advani took out a cross-country rath yatra to garner support to build a Ram temple at the site. Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) volunteers partially damaged the Babri mosque.
6) On December 6, 1992, the mosque was demolished by Kar Sevaks. This resulted in communal riots across India. Ten days after the demolition, the Liberhan Commission was set to investigate the incident. The Commission submitted its report on June 2009 - naming LK Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other BJP leaders -- almost 17 years after it began its inquiry.
7) While an investigation was still under way, in September 2003, a court ruled that seven Hindu leaders, including some prominent BJP leaders, should stand trial for inciting the destruction of the Babri Masjid (Mosque).
8) In April 2002, a 3-judge Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court began hearings on determining who owned the site in Ayodhya.
9) In September 2010, the Allahabad High Court pronounced the verdict. The verdict said that the site of Babri mosque is to be divided into three parts, each going to Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh. Both Hindu groups and Muslim groups moved Supreme Court challenging the High Court verdict.
10) In 2011, the Supreme Court stayed the Allahabad High Court order. Since then, the matter, which the Supreme Court is treating purely as a land dispute case, has been pending with the Supreme Court. In October 2018, when the final hearing for the case was to be held, the Supreme Court pushed it ahead for hearing in January 2019.
The Shiv Sena's political presence in Uttar Pradesh is negligible. Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who is in Ayodhya, raised brows when he said, "We demolished the Babri masjid in 17 minutes, how much time does it take to draw up papers? If you talk about an ordinance, then from the President's House Rashtrapati Bhavan to Uttar Pradesh, it is BJP all the way. What else do you want?"