This dispute was started on 6th November, 1992 when the Hindu political rally turned to riot and destroyed the Babri Masijid which was built by mughal emperor babur by destroying/modifying existing Hindu diety Rama’s temple. The issue involves the control of the particular site traditionally regarded as Hindu diety Rama’s birthplace as well as the Muslim empire builds Babri Masijid by modifying/destroying the existing templea. Ayodhya dispute is remarkably the very long civil dispute in India that finally came to an end 9th November, 2019.
The five judge Supreme Court bench heard the similar title disputes from august to October of 2019. The Supreme Court announced their verdict on the case: to hand over the land to a trust to construct a Hindu temple and allotted a five-acre tract of land to the Sunni waqf board to build the mosque for Muslims. On February 5th of 2020, the central government ordered the trust named Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra to build a temple. The size of the plot land is about 2.77 acres.
Ram Janmabhoomi refers to the birthplace of the Hindu diety Rama who was widely worshipped by Hindus and believed as the seventh incarnation of Hindu Lord Vishnu. According to Ramayana, Rama was born in Ayodhya to king Dhasatha and Queen Kousalya. Ayodhya has been one of the sacred places to the Hindus and texts belonging to the period 11th to 14th century say that Rama was worshipped and Ayodhya had been a pilgrimage as it was a birthplace of Rama.
Babri Masijid was built by the India’s first Mughal Emperor Babur ordered one of his generals Mir Baqi to build mosque in Ayodhya on 1528. The East-India company’s surveyor found inscription on the mosque walls and recorded the local tradition. Then they came to know that the mosque was built by the Aurangazb (1658-1707) by demolishing the temple dedicated to Rama. Between the period 1528-1668 there are no records proving the presence of the mosque. In 1717, there are records showing the three-domed structure depicting mosque was found.
Both the Hindus and Muslims together worshipped the Mosque-Temple. Muslims worshipped on inside the court and Hindus outside the court but inside the same compound for several years. After the Indian independence, in 1949 Hindus placed the idol of Rama inside the court which started the dispute.
The disputes began:
In 1850s the religious violence began in India at Ayodhya as a first recorded instance, in this process of riot, the mosque was attacked by the Hindus and made demands to gain possession to build a Hindu temple dedicated to Rama but the colonial government refused. In 1946, Hindu Mahasabha called as akhila Bharathi Ramayana mahasabha (ABRM) started agitation for possession of the site. On December 22 of 1949, this mahasabha organized nine-day continuous recitation and finally placed a Rama idol in mosque by breaking it.
Jawaharlal Nehru advised to remove the idol but they refused to carry out the orders. As a result, the police locked the entire possession which Hindus as well as muslins could not enter. But, the priests are allowed to enter the possession to perform daily worship to the Rama idol and the mosque was converted into de facto temple. Both the ARBM mahasabha and the Sunni waqf board filed civil suit in the court and the gates remained closed forever and the land was declared under dispute.
Babri mosque was demolished:
In late 1980s, the mainstream Hindu nationalist party Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) launched a movement to reclaim the site for Hindus and build a temple dedicated to Rama at that spot. The Bharathiya Janata Party (BGP) was formed in 1980 also joined the movement and it became as the political-faced campaign. In 1986, the district court ruled that the gates of the possession will be opened and the Hindus were allowed to worship which greatly pushed the campaign.
In 1990, the BJP leader L. K. Advani began “rath Yatra” (pilgrimage possession) to Ayodhya and raised a question, “If Muslim people are entitled to an Islamic atmosphere in Mecca, and if Christian people are entitled to a Christian atmosphere in the Vatican city then, why is it wrong for the Hindus to expect a Hindu atmosphere in Ayodhya?” . After this the communal riots in many cities over India awakened and prompted the Bihar government to arrest the BJP leader L. K. Advani.
Because of this, large number of social activists reached Ayodhya and tried to attack the mosque and the Uttar Pradesh police and paramilitary forces tried to stop them. Which resulted in the pitched battle and several activists were killed. Later the BJP withdrew its support for concentrating in elections. In the elections, BJP won in Uttar Pradesh Legislative assembly and increased the share of seats in Lok Sabha. On December 6th of 1992, BJP and VHP organized a rally 150,000 people at the site. This included the speeches of BJP leaders and by the noon, mosque was attacked using many tools.
More than 200 people that took part in the riot were killed by police while stopping them from demolishing the mosque. As a cause, many riots were broke out in the major cities of India like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bhopal. On December 16th of 1992, the government set up the liberhan commission to probe the circumstances that led to demolition of the mosque and this commission was the longest running commission in the Indian history.
The commission stated that the leaders of BJP, VHP as well as other parties have made provocative speeches during the rally and this provoked the demolition. The rally and the demolition could have been stopped if they wished to do so. Many Muslim organizations have continued opposing the destruction of the disputed mosque. In 2005, the terrorist groups attacked the temple at the site of mosque destroyed. In 2007, the head of Ram Temple received phone calls making threats against his life. This terror attack cites the destruction of mosque as a reason.
After several years, mosques were built on Faizabad district which has jurisdiction over Ayodhya which have a small amount of Muslim population and seven kilometers away from Ayodhya, there are substantial numbers of population. The main gates of the Ayodhya temple was locked but the Hindu pilgrims could use the side doors to worship Rama and the Muslims were not allowed to go more than 200 yards closer to the temple since 1949.
In 1986, the Allahabad High court ordered to open the gates of the temple and restored the site to Hindus. After that, Hindu groups sent a notification to Sunni waqf organization to construct the new grand temple with government permission. This is where both Muslims and Hindus started riots and this dispute became very serious. The Political, historical and socio-religious debate over Babri Mosque is known as Ayodhya Dispute.
Archaeological Survey India (ASI) took archaeological excavations in the site over the years 1970, 1992 and 2003 and they found the evidence indicating large Hindu Complex on the site. Even deeper excavations were carried further as the order of the High Court. After the deep archaeological excavations, they found out the definite proof of a temple under this mosque but it is not sure whether it is a Rama temple But the structures resembled lot more like a Shiva Temple which yielded further excavations.
The further excavations have discovered a mutilated sculpture of divine couple and carved architectural features and many foliage patterns, octagonal shaft that is broken and 50 pillar bases with the huge structures were found.
Finally, the excavations by the Archaeological survey of India were used as evidence by the court and proved the presence of predating structures and massive Hindu religious Buildings.
The Supreme Court Verdict:
The Supreme Court held final hearing on the case from 6th august of 2019 to 16th October of 2019. The bench granted three days to contesting parties and also reserved the final judgment. On 9th November of 2019, the Supreme Court ordered to hand over the land to the Hindu Trust in order to construct a Hindu Temple. Also, the court ordered government to give five acres of land as an alternate to the Sunni waqf board to construct a mosque.
After this, the Supreme Court of India dismissed all the eighteen petitions seeking review of the verdict of Ayodhya Dispute on 12th December 2019.
Earlier this year, VHP announced a nationwide drive to find collect finest stones for the Ram temple in Ayodhya. Two trucks of stones were arrived in the city and they received a signal from the government to build the temple. Later this incident, the Uttar Pradesh government said that no more stones will be allowed to bring from outside to construct Ram Mandir. Then they were asked by the central government to set up an organization to oversee the construction work of the Ayodhya temple.
Later in the Judgment, the court also added that the demolition of mosque in 1992 was against the law. The main group of Muslim Litigants has said that they further will not appeal in the court against the verdict of the Supreme Court.
Author: SriKanth R,
2nd semester | BBA LLB | IFIM Law school, Bangalore