History Of The Ayodhya Issue
It has been more than 70 years since the first court case was filed in the Ayodhya dispute. The dispute that has dominated the country's political discourse has seen many twists and turns. The matter has been pending since 2010, when the top court stayed the verdict of the Allahabad High Court. The High Court had said Lord Ram was born under the central dome of the makeshift temple in Ayodhya and Hindus have the right to worship there.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.
11) In its 2017 UP election manifesto, the BJP said it "will explore all possibilities within the purview of the Constitution to construct a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya". The BJP returned to power in UP after 15 years, and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asked his officials to begin work on implementation of the poll promise.