Dec 6 (Friday) will mark 20 years
since the day a mob of Hindu 'karsevaks' (religious volunteers)
brought down the centuries-old Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, triggering
riots in the country as well as in neighbouring Pakistan and
Bangladesh. A timeline of the dispute:
April 21, 1526: Mughal leader Zahiruddin Muhammad Babar, a
descendant of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, defeats Ibrahim Lodhi,
the last sultan of the Lodhi dynasty at the First Battle of
March 17, 1527: Babar defeats Rana Sangram Singh (Rana Sanga), the
Rajput king of Chittorgarh at the Battle of Khanwa near Agra and
solidifies his control over most of northern India.
1528: Mir Baqi Khan, a general of Babar builds a mosque in Ayodhya,
traditionally at a spot believed by Hindus to be the birthplace of
Lord Ram. Khan allegedly builds the mosque after demolishing a
Hindu temple at the spot. The mosque becomes known as the
Masjid-i-Janamsthan, Masjid Mir Baqi or the Babri Masjid.
1853: The first recorded communal clashes between Hindus and
Muslims over the site happen.
1859: The colonial British administration puts a fence around the
site, denominating separate areas of worship for Hindus and
December 1949: Idols of Lord Ram suddenly make their appearance
inside the mosque. Both sides to the dispute file civil suits. The
government locks the gates, saying the matter is sub judice and
declares the area 'disputed'.
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 gathers momentum
as Hindu groups form a committee to spearhead the construction of
1986: District judge orders the gates of the mosque to be opened
after almost five decades and allows Hindus to worship inside the
"disputed structure". A Babri Mosque Action Committee is formed as
Muslims protest the move to allow Hindu prayers at the site.
1989: The clamour for building a Ram temple grows. Fronted by
organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, foundations of a
temple are laid on land adjacent to the "disputed structure". The
'shilanyas' ceremony was allowed by then prime minister Rajiv
1990: BJP president L.K. Advani takes out a cross-country 'rath
yatra' (chariot procession) to garner support for the move to
build a Ram temple at the site. Police fire at VHP volunteers on
orders of then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav,
when they gather in Ayodhya as participants of the rath yatra.
1991: The BJP becomes India's primary opposition party in
parliament and comes to power in Uttar Pradesh.
1991: The movement for building a temple gathers further momentum
as karsevaks pour into Ayodhya. Bricks are sent from across India.
Dec 6, 1992: The Babri Mosque is demolished. Communal riots across
Dec 16, 1992: Ten days after the demolition, the Congress
government in New Delhi, headed by P.V. Narasimha Rao, sets up a
commission of inquiry under Justice Liberhan.
1993: Three months after being constituted, the Liberhan
Commission begins investigations into who and what led to the
demolition of the Babri Mosque.
Feb 27, 2002: At least 58 people are killed in Godhra, Gujarat, in
an attack on the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express travelling
from Ayodhya to Ahmedabad. The S-6 coach is carrying 'ramsevaks'
(Hindu pilgrims) returning from Ayodhya to Gujarat. Riots follow
in the state in which over 2,000 people, mostly Muslims die.
2003: The court orders a survey to find out whether a temple to
Lord Ram exist on the site. In August, the survey presents
evidence of a temple under the mosque. Muslim groups dispute the
September 2003: A court rules that seven Hindu leaders, including
some prominent BJP leaders, should stand trial for inciting the
destruction of the Babri Mosque.
November 2004: An Uttar Pradesh court rules that an earlier order
which exonerated L.K. Advani for his role in the destruction of
the mosque should be reviewed.
2009: The Liberhan Commission submits its report on June 30,
almost 17 years after it began its inquiry. Its contents are not
Sep 30, 2010: The Allahabad High Court pronounces its verdict on
four title suits relating to the Ayodhya dispute. The disputed
land in Ayodhya is to be divided into 3 parts. 1/3 goes to Ram
Lalla represented by Hindu Maha Sabha, 1/3 to Sunni Waqf Board,
1/3 goes to Nirmohi Akhara.
December 2010: The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and Sunni Waqf
Board move the Supreme Court of India, challenging part of the
Allahabad High Court's verdict.
May 9, 2011: The Supreme Court of India stays the High Court order
splitting the disputed site in three parts and says status quo
will remain. The two judge bench of Supreme Court also remarks
that the high court verdict is surprising as no party wanted a
split of the site.