New Delhi, Dec 5: Just a day before the 25th anniversary of the medieval-era Babri Masjid demolition, the Supreme Court is set to begin its final hearing in the controversial Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute case today. A total of 13 appeals, filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad high court, will be heard by a special bench Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer at 2 PM.
The Allahabad High Court had earlier ruled that the 2.77-acre land at Ayodhya be divided among Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara, and the Lord Ram Lalla. A cult of Muslims from Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh had earlier approached the High Court with a solution that a separate mosque could be built in another Muslim-dominated area at a “reasonable distance” from the disputed site in Ayodhya.
However, the solution was opposed by the Sunni board saying that a judicial adjudication between the two sects had already declared the demolished mosque as one which belongs to the Sunnis. Challenging the judgment, the board said that the judgment was based on faith rather than the documentary evidence.
While many have known what the Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir dispute case is all about, below in the timeline of the Babri Masjid demolition case.
BABRI MASJID DEMOLITION CASE
The Babri Masjid controversy dates back to the year 1885 when the first suit regarding the Babri Masjid structure was filed after the Faizabad Deputy Commissioner did not let Mahant Raghubar Das construct a Ram temple on the land next to the mosque.
Mahant Raghubar Das then filed a suit seeking permission to built a temple on the outer courtyard of the mosque.
In 1949, idols of Ram Lalla were secretively placed under the central dome of the Babri mosque allegedly by the volunteers of Hindu Mahasabha.
While this led to an uproar with many groups and parties filing suits to claim the land to perform their respective religious activities.
In 1950, Gopal Simla Visharad filed a suit in Faizabad civil court to offer prayers to Ram Lalla. In 1959, the Nirmohi Akhara filed another suit and sought directions to hand over charge of the disputed site.
The site was declared to be in dispute and locks were placed on gates of the Babri Masjid. In 1986, the locks were removed and the site was opened for the Hindu worshippers to perform their religious activities.
In the late 1980s, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) intensified its campaigns to construct a Ram temple on the site.
The case originally stems from two crime files (Crime No: 197/1992 and Crime No: 198/1992) against BJP veteran leader LK Advani and lakhs of Karsevaks (volunteers) who were around the disputed site on December 6, 1992, the day Babri mosque was demolished. Crime No 198 names LK Advani and other BJP leaders of giving communal speeches at the disputed site and before the mosque was demolished.
In September 1990, LK Advani led a Rath Yatra to Ayodhya but was arrested even before he could reach the ancient city. However, the Karsevaks attempted to attack the mosque which led to clashes between them and the paramilitary forces.
On December 6, 1992, lakhs of Karsevaks and nearly 150,000 VHP members organised a rally at the site of the mosque. This was the same day when BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti allegedly gave “communal” speeches before the demolition of the masjid.
Militant slogans were shouted and repeated at the rally. The area was cordoned off.
While a police cordon was placed around the mosque, a man slipped through it and climbed the dome of the Babri Masjid waving the BJP flag.
Taking as a signal, a group of men from the mob climbed the mosque and demolished the entire structure provoking inter-communal violence soon after.
In 1993, the Uttar Pradesh government took over the land and sought the Supreme Court’s on whether there existed a Hindu temple before a mosque was constructed by Mughal general Babur in early 1500s.
The CBI filed a charge sheet accusing Advani and other leaders of ‘conspiracy’.
Former Intelligence Bureau (IB) Joint Director, Maloy Krishna Dhar, in his book, claimed that the Babri Masjid demolition was planned 10 months in advance by top leaders of RSS, BJP, and VHP.
On May 4, 2001, conspiracy charges against Advani and others were absolved by a special court.
On May 20, Allahabad High Court upheld the order and dismissed CBI’s petition to proceed with the conspiracy charge against Advani and other BJP leaders.
In September 2010, two-thirds of the Ayodhya site was awarded to Hindu parties and one-third to Waqf board by the Allahabad HC.
In February 2011, the Supreme Court was moved by the CBI. The apex court stayed Allahabad HC verdict. The court also ordered a joint trial of crimes 197 and 198 in Babri case.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court revived conspiracy charges against LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and other party leaders in Babri Masjid demolition case declaring that the criminal charges against the BJP leaders cannot be dropped on ‘technical grounds’.
In May 2017, Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar were charged with criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case.