The Ayodhya dispute is a political, historical and socio-religious debate in India, centred on a plot of land in the city of Ayodhya, located in Faizabad district, Uttar Pradesh. The main issues revolve around access to a site traditionally regarded among Hindus to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama, the history and location of the Babri Mosque at the site, and whether a previous Hindu temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque.
The Babri Mosque was destroyed during a political rally which turned into a riot on 6 December 1992. A subsequent land title case was lodged in the Allahabad High Court, the verdict of which was pronounced on 30 September 2010. In the landmark hearing, the three judges of The Allahabad High Court ruled that the 2.77 acres (1.12 ha) of Ayodhya land be divided into 3 parts, with 1/3 going to the Ram Lalla or Infant Rama represented by the Hindu Maha Sabha for the construction of the Ram temple, 1/3 going to the Islamic Sunni Waqf Board and the remaining 1/3 going to a Hindu religious denomination Nirmohi Akhara. While the three-judge bench was not unanimous that the disputed structure was constructed after demolition of a temple, it did agree that a temple or a temple structure predated the mosque at the same site. The excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India were heavily used as evidence by the court that the predating structure was a massive Hindu religious building.
- 1 Religious background
- 2 Historical background
- 3 Beginnings of dispute
- 4 Demolition of the Babri Mosque
- 5 Early historical surveys
- 6 Post-independence
- 7 Timeline
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Sources
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
The Ayodhya debate centres around the land known today as Ram Janmabhoomi, on which the Babri Mosque was built in 1528. In the Ramayana, Ayodhya is the birthplace of the god-king Rama, the son of Dasharatha, the ruler of Ayodhya, and his queen Kausalya. He is worshiped by many Hindus as an Avatar, or incarnation, of Vishnu.
In 1525, the Mughal king Babur invaded north India, and conquered a substantial part of northern India. One of his generals, Mir Baqi came to Ayodhya in 1528 and after reportedly destroying a pre-existing temple of Rama at the site, built a mosque, which has come to be called masjid-i-janmasthan (mosque at the birthplace) as well as Babri Masjid (Babur's mosque). The Babri Mosque was one of the largest mosques in Uttar Pradesh, a state in India with considerable Muslim population. Both the Hindus and Muslims are said to have worshipped at the "mosque-temple," Muslims inside the mosque and Hindus outside the mosque but inside the compound. After the British took over the State, they put up a railing between the two areas to prevent disputes.
In Buddha's time (600 B.C.) the present day Ayodhya was called Saketa and it was one of the 6 largest cities of North India. During the Gupta times, either Kumaragupta or Skandagupta made it their capital, after which it came to be called Ayodhya. Kalidasa wrote Raghuvamsa here, and referred to Gopratara tirtha (Guptar Ghat), where Rama was believed to have entered the waters of Saryu in his ascent to heaven. According to a local tradition recorded by Francis Buchanan and Alexander Cunningham, Ayodhya became desolate after Rama's ascent to heaven and "Vikramaditya" revived it. (In Raghuvamsa, Rama's son Kusa revived it.) Prabhavatigupta, the daughter of Chandragupta II, was a Rama devotee. Her son, Pravarasena II wrote Sethubandha, in which Rama was regarded as identical to Vishnu. He also built a temple to Rama at Pravarapura (Paunar near Ramtek) in about 450 A.D.
After the Guptas, the capital of North India moved to Kannauj and Ayodhya fell into relative neglect. It was revived by the Gahadavalas, coming to power in the 11th century A.D. The Gahadavalas were Vaishnavas. They built several Vishnu temples in Ayodhya, five of which survived till Aurangzeb's reign. Indologist Hans T. Bakker concludes that there might have been a temple at the supposed birth spot of Rama built by the Gahadavalas.:91[note 1] In subsequent years, the cult of Rama developed within Vaishnavism, with Rama being regarded as the foremost avatar of Vishnu. Consequently, Ayodhya's importance as a pilgrimage centre grew. In particular, multiple versions of Ayodhya Mahatmya (magical powers of Ayodhya) prescribed the celebration of Ram Navami (the birthday of Rama).
In modern times, a mosque was located at the supposed birth spot of Rama, which sat on a large mound in the centre of Ayodhya, called the Ramadurg or Ramkot (the fort of Rama). The mosque bore an inscription stating that it was built in 1528 A.D. by Mir Baqi on the orders of Babur.
According to an early 20th century text by Maulvi Abdul Ghaffar and the surrounding historical sources examined by historian Harsh Narain,[note 2] the young Babur came from Kabul to Awadh (Ayodhya) in disguise, dressed as a Qalandar (Sufi ascetic), probably as part of a fact-finding mission. Here he met the Sufi saints Shah Jalal and Sayyid Musa Ashiqan and took a pledge in return for their blessings for conquering Hindustan. The pledge is not spelled out in the 1981 edition of Abdul Ghaffar's book, but it is made clear that it is in pursuance of this pledge that he got the Babri mosque constructed after conquering Hindustan. The original book was written in Persian by Maulvi Abdul Karim, a spiritual descendant of Musa Ashiqan, and it was translated into Urdu by Abdul Ghaffar, his grandson, with additional commentary. The older editions of Abdul Ghaffar's book contain more detail, which seems to have been excised in the 1981 edition. Lala Sita Ram of Ayodhya, who had access to the older edition in 1932, wrote, "The faqirs answered that they would bless him if he promised to build a mosque after demolishing the Janmasthan temple. Babur accepted the faqirs' offer and returned to his homeland."
The fact that Babur came in the guise of a Qalandar is corroborated in Abdullah's Tarikh-i Dawudi, where it is detailed that he met the Sultan Sikandar Lodhi in Delhi in the same disguise. The inscription on the Babri mosque also names him as Babur Qalandar. Musa Ashiqan's grave is situated close to the Babri mosque site, whose shrine uses two of the same type of black basalt columns used in the Babri mosque, indicative of his role in the destruction of the prior temple.
While we have had a mosque bearing an inscription to the effect that it was built on orders of Babur in 1528, there are no other records of the mosque from this period. The Babarnama (Chronicles of Babur) does not mention either the mosque or the destruction of a temple. Tulsidas, who began writing the Ramcharit Manas in Ayodhya on Rama's birthday in 1574 (coming there from his normal residence in Varanasi) mentioned the "great birthday festival" in Ayodhya but made no mention of a mosque at Rama's birthplace. Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak (1551–1602), who wrote Akbarnama, completing the third volume Ain-i Akbari in 1598, described the birthday festival in Ayodhya, the "residence of Rama" and the "holiest place of antiquity", but made no mention of a mosque. William Finch, the English traveller that visited Ayodhya around 1611, and wrote about the "ruins of the Ranichand [Ramachand] castle and houses" where Hindus believed the great God "took flesh upon him to see the tamasha of the world." He found pandas (Brahmin priests) in the ruins of the fort, who were recording the names of the pilgrims, a practice that was said to go back to antiquity. Again there was no mention of a mosque in his account.
Late Mughal period
The first known report of a mosque appears in a book Sahifa-I-Chihil Nasaih Bahadur Shahi, said to have been written by a daughter of the emperor Bahadur Shah I (1643–1712) and granddaughter of emperor Aurangzeb, in the early 18th century. It mentioned mosques having been constructed after demolishing the "temples of the idolatrous Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Awadh etc." Hindus are said to have called these demolished temples in Awadh "Sita Rasoi" (Sita's kitchen) and "Hanuman's abode."  While there was no mention of Babur in this account, the Ayodhya mosque had been juxtaposed with those built by Aurangzeb at Mathura and Banaras.
Jai Singh II (popularly called "Sawai Jai Singh", 1688-1743) purchased land and established Jaisinghpuras in all Hindu religious centres in North India, including Mathura, Vrindavan, Banaras, Allahabad, Ujjain and Ayodhya. The documents of these activities have been preserved in the Kapad-Dwar collection in the City Palace Museum in Jaipur. Professor R. Nath, who has examined these records, concludes that Jai Singh had acquired the land of Rama Janmasthan in 1717. The ownership of the land was vested in the deity. The hereditary title of the ownership was recognized and enforced by the Mughal State from 1717. He also found a letter from a gumastha Trilokchand, dated 1723, stating that, while under the Muslim administration people had been prevented from taking a ritual bath in the Saryu river, the establishment of the Jaisinghpura has removed all impediments.
The Jesuit priest Joseph Tieffenthaler, who visited Awadh in 1766-1771, wrote, "Emperor Aurangzebe got the fortress called Ramcot demolished and got a Muslim temple, with triple domes, constructed at the same place. Others say that it was constructed by 'Babor'. Fourteen black stone pillars of 5 span high, which had existed at the site of the fortress, are seen there. Twelve of these pillars now support the interior arcades of the mosque." This ambiguity between Aurangzeb and Babur could be significant. Tieffenthaler also wrote that Hindus worshipped a square box raised 5 inches above the ground, which was said to be called the "Bedi, i.e., the cradle." "The reason for this is that once upon a time, here was a house where Beschan [Vishnu] was born in the form of Ram." He recorded that Rama's birthday was celebrated every year, with a big gathering of people, which was "so famous in the entire India."
Beginnings of dispute
The first recorded instances of religious violence in Ayodhya occurred in the 1850s over a nearby mosque at Hanuman Garhi. The Babri mosque was attacked by Hindus in the process. Since then, local Hindu groups made occasional demands that they should have the possession of the site and that they should be allowed to build a temple on the site, all of which were denied by the colonial government. In 1946, an offshoot of the Hindu Mahasabha called Akhil Bharatiya Ramayana Mahasabha (ABRM) started an agitation for the possession of the site. In 1949, Sant Digvijay Nath of Gorakhnath Math joined the ABRM and organised a 9-day continuous recitation of Ramcharit Manas, at the end of which the Hindu activists broke into the mosque and placed idols of Rama and Sita inside. People were led to believe that the idols had 'miraculously' appeared inside the mosque. The date of the event was 22 December 1949.
Jawaharlal Nehru insisted that the idols should be removed. However, the local official K. K. K. Nair, known for his Hindu nationalist connections, refused to carry out orders, claiming that it would lead to communal riots. The police locked the gates so that the public (Hindus as well as Muslims) could not enter. However, the idols remained inside and priests were allowed entry to perform daily worship. So, the mosque had been converted into a de facto temple. Both the Sunni Wakf Board and the ABRM filed civil suits in a local court staking their respective claims to the site. The land was declared to be under dispute, and the gates remained locked.
Christophe Jaffrelot has called the Gorakhnath wing of Hindu nationalism 'the other saffron', which has maintained its existence separately from the mainstream Hindu nationalism of the Sangh Parivar. After the Vishva Hindu Parishad was formed in 1964 and started agitating for the Babri Masjid site, the two strands of 'saffron politics' came together. The district magistrate Nair, who refused to carry out orders, was eventually dismissed, but he became a local hero and subsequently a politician of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
Demolition of the Babri Mosque
In the 1980s, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), belonging to the mainstream Hindu nationalist family Sangh Parivar, launched a new movement to "reclaim" the site for Hindus and to erect a temple dedicated to the infant Rama (Ramlala) at this spot. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), formed in 1980 from the remnants of the Jana Sangh, became the political face of the campaign. In 1986, a district judge ruled that the gates would be reopened and Hindus permitted to worship inside, providing a major boost to the movement. In September 1990, BJP leader L. K. Advani began a "rath yatra" (pilgrimage procession) to Ayodhya in order to generate support for the movement. Advani later stated in his memoirs, "If Muslims are entitled to an Islamic atmosphere in Mecca, and if Christians are entitled to a Christian atmosphere in the Vatican, why is it wrong for the Hindus to expect a Hindu atmosphere in Ayodhya?" The yatra resulted in communal riots in many cities in its wake, prompting the government of Bihar to arrest Advani. In spite of this, a large number of 'kar sevaks' or Sangh Parivar activists reached Ayodhya and tried to attack the mosque. They were stopped by the Uttar Pradesh police and the paramilitary forces, resulting in a pitched battle in which several kar sevaks were killed. Accusing the central government led by V.P. Singh of being weak, the BJP withdrew its support, necessitating fresh elections. In these elections, the BJP won a majority in the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly increased its share of seats in the Lok Sabha.
On 6 December 1992, the VHP and its associates, including the BJP, organised a rally involving 150,000 VHP and BJP kar sevaks at the site of the mosque. The ceremonies included speeches by the BJP leaders such as Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti. The mob grew restive through the duration of the speeches, and stormed the mosque shortly after noon. A police cordon placed there to protect the mosque was heavily outnumbered. The mosque was attacked with a number of improvised tools, and brought to the ground in a few hours. This occurred despite a commitment from the state government to the Indian Supreme Court that the mosque would not be harmed. More than 2000 people were killed in the riots following the demolition. Riots broke out in many major Indian cities including Mumbai, Bhopal, Delhi and Hyderabad.
On 16 December 1992, the Liberhan Commission was set up by the Government of India to probe the circumstances that led to the demolition of the Babri Mosque. It was the longest running commission in India's history with several extensions granted by various governments. The report found a number of people culpable in the demolition, including BJP leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, Pramod Mahajan, Uma Bharti and Vijayaraje Scindia, as well as VHP leaders like Giriraj Kishore and Ashok Singhal. Other prominent political leaders indicted by the commission include late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and former RSS leader K. Govindacharya. Relying on the testimonies of several eyewitnesses, the report stated that many of these leaders had made provocative speeches at the rally that provoked the demolition. It also stated that they could have stopped the demolition if they had so wished.
Many Muslim organisations have continued to express outrage at the destruction of the disputed structure. In July 2005, terrorists attacked the makeshift temple at the site of the destroyed mosque. In 2007, M. N. Gopal Das, the then head of the Ram temple, received phone calls making threats against his life. Many terror attacks by banned jihadi outfits like Indian Mujahideen cited demolition of Babri Mosque as an excuse for terrorist attacks. The legal case continues regarding the title deed of the land tract which is a government controlled property.
Early historical surveys
In 1767, Jesuit priest Joseph Tieffenthaler recorded Hindus worshiping and celebrating Ramanavami at the site of the mosque. In 1788, Tieffenthaler's French works were published in Paris, the first to suggest that the Babri Mosque was on the birthplace of Rama, saying that "Emperor Aurangzeb got demolished the fortress called Ramkot, and erected on the same place a Mahometan temple with three cuppolas" reclaimed by Hindus through numerous wars after death of Aurangzeb in 1707 A.D like they earlier fortified it during Jahangir's rule as Ramkot.
During the 19th century, the Hindus in Ayodhya were recorded as continuing a tradition of worshiping Rama on the Ramkot hill. According to British sources, Hindus and Muslims from the Faizabad area worshiped together in the Babri Mosque complex in the 19th century until about 1855. P. Carnegy wrote in 1870:
It is said that up to that time, the Hindus and Mohamedans alike used to worship in the mosque-temple. Since the British rule a railing has been put up to prevent dispute, within which, in the mosque the Mohamedans pray, while outside the fence the Hindus have raised a platform on which they make their offerings.— P. Carnegy: A Historical Sketch of Tehsil Fyzabad, Lucknow 1870
This platform was outside the disputed structure but within its precincts.
In 1858, the Muazzin of the Babri Mosque said in a petition to the British government that the courtyard had been used by Hindus for hundreds of years.
The British recognized the religious and political tension between the Muslims and Hindus. An early census, taken in 1869, found the Hindu people to comprise 66.4 percent of the total population in Ayodhya, and a little over 60 percent in nearby Faizabad. The British contended that the Ayodhya area was primarily Hindu, not in regards to this census, but to the chief spiritual significance for the birthplace of Rama.
Mahant Ram case
In 1885, Mahant Raghubar Ram moved the courts for permission to erect a temple just outside the Babri Mosque premises. Despite validating the claim of the petitioner, the Faizabad District Judge dismissed the case, citing the passage of time. On 18 March 1886, the judge passed an order in which he wrote:
I visited the land in dispute yesterday in the presence of all parties. I found that the Masjid built by Emperor Babur stands on the border of Ayodhya, that is to say, to the west and south it is clear of habitations. It is most unfortunate that a Masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as that event occurred 356 years ago, it is too late now to agree with the grievances. (Court verdict by Col. F.E.A. Chamier, District Judge, Faizabad (1886)
Several later mosques were built in Faizabad district, in which the pilgrim city of Ayodhya falls. Ayodhya itself has a small Muslim population, though there are substantial numbers of Muslims 7 km away at District Headquarters – Faizabad. Since 1949, by Indian Government order, Muslims were not permitted to be closer than 200 yards away to the site; the main gate remained locked, though Hindu pilgrims were allowed to enter through a side door. The 1986 Allahabad High Court ordered the opening of the main gate and restored the site in full to the Hindus. Hindu groups later requested modifications to the Babri Mosque, and drew up plans for a new grand Temple with Government permissions; riots between Hindu and Muslim groups took place as a result. Since then, the matter is sub-judice and this political, historical and socio-religious debate over the history and location of the Babri Mosque, is known as the Ayodhya dispute.
Archaeological excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1970, 1992 and 2003 in and around the disputed site have clearly found the evidence indicating that a large Hindu complex existed on the site. In 2003, by the order of an Indian Court, The Archaeological Survey of India was asked to conduct a more indepth study and an excavation to ascertain the type of structure that was beneath the rubble indicated definite proof of a temple under the mosque. However, it could not be ascertained if it was a Rama temple as remnant had more resemblance to a Shiva temple. In the words of ASI researchers, they discovered "distinctive features associated with... temples of north India". Excavations further yielded:
stone and decorated bricks as well as mutilated sculpture of a divine couple and carved architectural features, including foliage patterns, amalaka, kapotapali, doorjamb with semi-circular shrine pilaster, broke octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine having pranjala (watershute) in the north and 50 pillar bases in association with a huge structure
Before the archaeological opinion was published, there were some differing viewpoints. In his Communal History and Rama's Ayodhya, written prior to the ASI researches, Professor Ram Sharan Sharma writes, "Ayodhya seems to have emerged as a place of religious pilgrimage in medieval times. Although chapter 85 of the Vishnu Smriti lists as many as fifty-two places of pilgrimage, including towns, lakes, rivers, mountains, etc., it does not include Ayodhya in this list. Sharma also notes that Tulsidas, who wrote the Ramcharitmanas in 1574 at Ayodhya, does not mention it as a place of pilgrimage. This suggests that there was no significant Hindu temple at the site of the Babri Mosque, or that it had ceased to be one, after the mosque was built. After the demolition of the mosque in 1992, Professor Ram Sharan Sharma along with historians Suraj Bhan, M. Athar Ali and Dwijendra Narayan Jha wrote the Historian's report to the nation saying that the assumption that there was a temple at the disputed site was mistaken, and that there was no valid reason to destroy the mosque. One of the judges of the Allahabad High Court in 2010 criticised the independent experts who had appeared on behalf of the Sunni Waqf Board including Suvira Jaiswal, Supriya Verma, Shireen F Ratnagar and Jaya Menon. The witnesses withered under scrutiny and were discovered to have made "reckless and irresponsible kind of statements". He also pointed out that the independent witnesses were all connected, while adding that their opinions were offered without making a proper investigation, research or study into the subject.
In 1950, Gopal Singh Visharad filed a title suit with the Allahabad High Court seeking injunction to offer 'puja' (worship) at the disputed site. A similar suit was filed shortly after but later withdrawn by Paramhans Das of Ayodhya. In 1959, the Nirmohi Akhara, a Hindu religious institution, filed a third title suit seeking direction to hand over the charge of the disputed site, claiming to be its custodian. A fourth suit was filed by the Muslim Central Board of Wakf for declaration and possession of the site. The Allahabad high court bench began hearing the case in 2002, which was completed in 2010. However, the bench withheld its verdict till 24 September. After the Supreme Court dismissed a plea to defer the High Court verdict, the High Court set 30 September 2010 as the final date for pronouncing the judgement.
On 30 September 2010, the High Court of Allahabad, the three-member bench comprising justices S. U. Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and D. V. Sharma, ruled that the disputed land be split into three parts. The site of the Ramlala idol would go to the party representing Ram Lalla Virajman (the installed Infant Ram deity), Nirmohi Akhara to get Sita Rasoi and Ram Chabutara, and the Sunni Wakf Board to get the rest. The court also ruled that the status quo should be maintained for three months.
Reacting to the verdict, all the three parties announced that they would appeal against the division of disputed land in the Supreme Court of India. All the three parties, however, conceded that this judgment was an important step towards the resolution of a long-standing dispute. The Supreme Court has set the date 8 February 2018 for the final hearing on the case.
|1527||During the reign of Babur, the first Mughal emperor, some have claimed that an old Hindu temple was demolished, and a mosque constructed at the same place in Ayodhya and named after Babur.|
|1853||The first recorded communal clashes over the site date to this year.|
|1859||The colonial British administration put a fence around the site, denominating separate areas of worship for Hindus and Muslims. That is how it stood for about 90 years.|
|1949||December||Idols were placed inside the mosque. Both sides to the dispute filed civil suits. The government locked the gates, saying the matter was sub judice and declared the area disputed. The civil suits were filed for ownership of the Plot no 583 of the area.|
|1961||Case filed in Indian courts against forceful occupation of the Babri Mosque and placing of idols within it.|
|1984||The movement to build a temple at the site, which Hindus claimed was the birthplace of Lord Ram, gathered momentum when Hindu groups formed a committee to spearhead the construction of a temple at the Ramjanmabhoomi site.|
|1986||A district judge ordered the gates of the mosque to be opened after 37 years (see 1949 above) and allowed Hindus to worship inside the “disputed structure.” A Babri Mosque Action Committee was formed as Muslims protested the move to allow Hindu prayers at the site. The gates were opened in less than an hour after the court decision.|
|1989||The clamour for building a Ram temple was growing. In February, VHP proclaimed that a Shila or a stone will be established for construction of temple near the area. In November, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad laid foundations of a temple on land adjacent to the "disputed structure" in presence of Home Minister Sh Boota Singh and then Chief Minister Sh ND Tiwari. There were sporadic clashes in the country such as Bhagalpur in Bihar.|
|1990||Sh V P Singh became the Prime Minister of India with support of BJP which had won 58 seats in the election, a massive improvement from its last tally of 2 seats. The then BJP president Lal Krishna Advani took out a cross-country rathyatra to garner support for the move to build a Ram temple at the site. On 23 October, he was arrested in Bihar during the yatra, following which BJP took back its support to the government. Sh Chandrashekhar became the Prime Minister of India with support of the Congress. On October 30, many were gunned down by the police on orders of the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, when they gathered in Ayodhya as participants of the Rath-Yatra; their bodies were thrown in the river Saryu.|
|1991||Congress came to power at center after elections in 1991, while BJP became major opposition party in center and came to power in many states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Kalyan Singh became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. State government acquired 2.77 acre land in the area and gave it on lease to RamJanmBhoomi Nyas Trust. The Allahbad High Court stopped any permanent construction activity in the area. Kalyan Singh publicly supported the movement while Central Government took no action to curb the increasing tensions. In spite of the High Court judgement, disputed area was leveled.|
|1992||Kalyan Singh took steps to support the movement such as making entry into area easier, promising no firing on Karsevaks, opposing decision of central government to send Central Police force in the area, etc. In July, several thousand Karsevaks assembled in the area and the work for maintenance of temple started. This activity was stopped after intervention of the prime minister. Meetings started between Babri Masjid Action Committee and VHP leaders in presence of the home minister. On 30 October, Dharam Sansad of VHP proclaimed in Delhi that the talks have failed and Karseva will presume from 6 December. Central Government was considering the deployment of central police forces in the area and dissolution of state government but in the end decided against it. The case was being heard in the Supreme Court which told that State Government is responsible for ensuring law and order in the area. The government was discussing it in Cabinet Committee meeting and Rashtriya Ekta Parishad. BJP boycotted the Parishad. The Allahbad High Court was hearing the matter of legality of structure of foundation laid in 1989.|
|1992||6 December||The Babri Mosque was demolished by a gathering of near 200,000 Karsevaks. Communal riots across India followed.|
|1992||16 December||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.|
|1993||Three months after being constituted, the Liberhan Commission began investigations into who and what led to the demolition of the Babri Mosque.|
|2001||Tensions rose on the anniversary of the demolition of the mosque as the VHP reaffirmed its resolve to build a temple at the site.|
|2002||27 February||At least 58 people were killed in Godhra, Gujarat, in an attack on a train believed to be carrying Hindu volunteers from Ayodhya. Riots followed in the state and over 2000 people were unofficially reported to have died in these.|
|2003||The court ordered a survey to find out whether a temple to Lord Ram existed on the site. In August, the survey presented evidence of a temple under the mosque. Muslim groups disputed the findings.|
|2003||September||A court ruled that seven Hindu leaders, including some prominent BJP leaders, should stand trial for inciting the destruction of the Babri Mosque.|
|2004||November||An Uttar Pradesh court ruled that an earlier order which exonerated LK Advani for his role in the destruction of the mosque should be reviewed.|
|2007||The Supreme Court refused to admit a review petition on the Ayodhya dispute.|
|2009||The Liberhan Commission, which was instituted ten days after the demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992, submitted its report on 30 June — almost 17 years after it began its inquiry. Its contents were not made public.|
|2010||30 September||The Allahabad High Court pronounces its verdict on four title suits relating to the Ayodhya dispute on 30 September 2010. Ayodhya land to be divided into three parts. ⅓ goes to Ram Lalla represented by Hindu Maha Sabha, ⅓ to Sunni Wakf Board, ⅓ goes to Nirmohi Akhara.|
|2010||December||The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and Sunni Waqf Board moved to the Supreme Court of India, challenging part of the Allahabad High Court’s verdict.|
|2011||9 May||Supreme Court of India stayed the High Court order splitting the disputed site in three parts and said that status quo will remain. The two-judge bench of Supreme Court remarked that the High Court ruling was surprising as no party wanted a split of the site.|
|2017||5 December||Supreme Court of India Full bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer has set 8 February 2018 as the date for final hearing on the case. |
|2018||6 April||Supreme Court of India rules against immediate constitution of a larger bench to hear the case |
- Ram ke Naam - a documentary on the Ayodhya dispute by Anand Patwardhan
- Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship into mosques
- Islam and other religions
- Temple Mount - similarly disputed location in Jerusalem
- Indologist Hans T. Bakker has named the five temples as follows: Vishnu Hari temple at the Chakratirtha ghat, Harismriti temple at the Gopratara ghat, Chandra Hari temple on the west side of the Svargadwara ghat, Dharma Hari temple on the east side of the Svargadwara ghat, and a Vishnu temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site. One of these temples was swept away by the Sarayu river, the fate of another (Harismiriti tmeple) is unknown, but the other three were replaced by mosques, including the temple at the Janmabhoomi, according to Bakker.
- Sources cited by Harsh Narain:
- Karim, Maulvi Abdul (1885). Tarikh-i Parnia Madinatul Awliya [History of Parnia city of Sufis] (in Persian). Lucknow.
- Ghaffar, Maulvi Abdul (1981) [first published prior to 1932]. Gumgamashtah Halat-i Ajodhya [Forgotten Events of Ayodhya] (in Urdu). Lucknow: Nami Press.
- Sita Ram, Avadh-vasi Lala (1932). Ayodhya ka Itihasa [History of Ayodhya] (in Hindi). Allahabad.
-  Archived 6 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- Suryamurthy, R (26 August 2003). "ASI findings may not resolve title dispute". The Tribune.
- Prasannan, R. (7 September 2003) "Ayodhya: Layers of truth" The Week (India), from Web Archive
- "Proof of temple found at Ayodhya: ASI report". Rediff.com. 25 August 2003. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- Abhinav Garg (9 October 2010). "How Allahabad HC exposed 'experts' espousing Masjid cause". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
- "Issues For Briefing" (PDF). Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- The Hindu temple, Volume 1 By Stella Kramrisch, Raymond Burnier. Google Books. 1976. p. 3. ISBN 9788120802230. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
- "Subject matter of the decided cases" (PDF). Retrieved 11 June 2012.
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