Babri Masjid, also called Mosque of Babur or Baburi Mosque, formerly Masjid-i Janmasthan, a mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India. Mīr Bāqī, probably a bey working under the Mughal emperor Bābur, founded it in the year 935 of the Islamic calendar (September 1528–September 1529 CE), according to inscriptions on the ground. It was one of three mosques, along with the mosques at Sambhal and Panipat, allegedly founded in the 16th century on the orders of Bābur. It was destroyed in 1992 amid decades of tensions over the site between Muslims and Hindus.
The Disputed Location
The location of the mosque has been a source of contention between Muslims and Hindus, the latter asserting that it was built on top of Ram Janmabhoomi, the site they believe to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama. In 1853, during an era of socio-political transition across India, the first recorded instance of conflict over the site between the religious communities was. Separate areas of the site for Muslims and for Hindus were developed during the British raj or direct British rule over the Indian subcontinent. Frames of Rama were introduced into the mosque in 1949 after India was partitioned and became united. The web was blocked off to all groups in the resulting uproar but the photos were not deleted.
The Babri Masjid was a mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh founded by Mir Baqi on the orders of the Mughal emperor Babur in around 1528–29 CE (935 AH).
The mosque was situated on a hill known as Ramkot, and a part of the Hindu community believed that a building marking Rama ‘s birthplace (Ram Janmabhoomi) was demolished by the Mughals to construct the mosque. The dissenting Muslims refuted that, though.
On December 6, 1992, the mosque was demolished by frenzied kar sevaks who were mobilized by L K Advani’s rath yatra.
The demolition marked an important point in the history of independent India and raised questions about the future of the republic as a secular nation.
For decades, the controversy over Babri Mosque-Ayodhya has been a contentious problem, mired in a series of legal cases between Hindu and Muslim religious parties.
The Campaign Launched for Ram Janmabhoomi
The conflict took a violent turn on Dec. 6, 1992, when a frenzied group of “kar sevaks”—Hindus nationalists trying to execute holy rites at the site — razed the mosque down. This sparked an orgy of communal riots and terrorist attacks across India, leaving hundreds dead, over the next many months.
The case has been used by right-wing Hindu political parties for nearly 25 years now and has contributed to a significant change from secularism to strident Hindu nationalism in the country’s political texture.
A campaign was launched in 1984 to remove the mosque and build a Hindu temple in its place. The movement gained momentum in the following years, leading to riots in 1990 and the collapse of India’s ruling coalition. This momentum helped sweep the Bharatiya Janata Party to power in several states, including in Uttar Pradesh, and on December 6, 1992, security forces stood by as activists destroyed the mosque. A series of court battles played out in the following decades. The land was divided between Hindus and Muslims in 2010 by the decision of a high court. That decision was appealed by both Hindu and Muslim litigants, and in 2019 the Supreme Court entrusted the site exclusively to Hindus.
Here’s a timeline to the thorny dispute that shook secular India’s foundations, like no other event in living memory:
- 1528 Mir Baqi, governor of Babar, establishes a mosque.
- 1859 British governor erects a barrier dividing the sites of worship, with the inner court to be used by Muslims and the outer court to be used by Hindus.
- 1885 The Mahant Raghubardas claim of Janam Asthan, requesting permission to construct a temple over a chabutra, refused and removed.
- 1934 Public unrest caused by reports of cow slaughter in Shahjahanpur destroys mosque, but it is restored afterward.
- 1944 Commissioner of waqfs declares the land to be Sunnis’ property as Babar was a Sunni
- 1949 Inside the temple, Ram idol emerges, Muslims protest, and file suit. Hindus file counter-suit, prompting the government to declare it unconstitutional and lock their doors.
- 1950-59 Over the next nine years Hindu priests filed a variety of suits claiming the freedom to practice puja and put idols inside the system, and in 1959 the Nirmohi Akhara filed a suit seeking real ownership of the location.
- 1964 VHP formed to safeguard “Hindu interests”1984 Parliament elections in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination give massive victory to Congress, reducing BJP to two Lok Sabha seats.
- 1984 Hindu outfits form a committee to “liberate” the birth-place of Lord Ram and build a temple in his honor.
- 1986 Following the court rules, the gates of the contested mosque were opened to encourage Hindus to worship there. Babri Masjid Committee of Action formed by the protestors.
- 1989 VHP stepped up the campaign, laying the foundations of a Ram temple on the ground adjacent to the mosque in question.
- V.P. 1989 Singh Administration, sworn in with BJP and CPI(M) external support. Before long, V.P. Expresses the need to enforce the OBC quota recommendation of the Mandal Commission.
- 1990 L.K. Advani’s “rath yatra” begins in Somnath on September 25.
- 1990 On 23 October 1990, Laloo Prasad Yadav arrests Advani and stops his “rath yatra” in Samastipur1990 Police fire at VHP kar sevaks, defying orders and marching into the area at issue.
- V.P., Nov 10 Singh defeats vote of confidence and resigns. Shortly afterward, with approval from Congress, Chandra Shekhar is sworn in as prime minister.
- 1990-91 BJP leader retains four states: MP, Rajasthan, UP, Himachal Pradesh.
- 1992 Kar sevaks demolish the mosque, CM Kalyan Singh resigns as Advani, Uma Bharati, and M.M. Joshi charge-sheeted.
- 1992 Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao dismisses four BJP governments in the wake of Babri Masjid demolition by BJP supporters.
- 1992 The Liberhan Commission was created to examine the demolition.
- 1992-93 Bombay communal violence accompanied by serial bomb explosions, injuring hundreds of men.
- 2002 PM A.B. Vajpayee sets up a cell in his office and appoints Shatrughan Singh, communicating with Hindus and Muslims, to find a solution.
- 2002 Communal riots erupt in Gujarat following the Godhra train attack.
- 2003 ASI starts a court-ordered survey to determine if there was a Ram temple at the site. It finds evidence of a temple but the finding is being disputed by Muslims.
- 2004 A UP court reverses an earlier order exonerating Advani from his alleged role in the demolition.
- 2005 Five suspected militants killed when they try to blow a hole on the wall of the complex in an explosive-laden jeep.
- In 2009 17 years after being constituted, the Liberhan Commission submitted its report.
- 2010 Allahabad High Court laws, splitting the site and granting the Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akhara one-third each. The mosque location is controlled by the Hindus.
- 2011 After Hindu and Muslim parties challenge, the Supreme Court suspends the High Court decision.
- 2014 BJP’s Narendra Modi leads the NDA coalition to power at the Centre, winning 336 seats.
- 2017 The Supreme Court says charges against Advani and other leaders cannot be dropped and must be revived.
- The Supreme Court pronounces its judgment on 19 April 2017, charging the BJP members with criminal action, and telling the Lucknow court to finalize the trial within two years.
- 2017 RSS Leader Mohan Bhagwat declares that, before the Supreme Court trial, only Ram Temple will be constructed at the contested location.
- 2018 After hearing multiple parties in the numerous civil suits, the Supreme Court directed the matter to be heard in January 2019 before an appropriate bench, although it did not specify a date.
- January 2019: Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi forms a Judicial Bench of five judges to consider the case.
- March 2019: The Supreme Court appoints an out-of-court arbitration mediation group chaired by Judge (retd) FMI Kallifulla on 8 March.
- August 2019: The mediation panel fails to reach an amicable settlement. The Supreme Court begins hearing on August 6.
- October 2019: The court reserves its order on October 15, after hearing the case on a daily basis for 40 days.
- November 2019: Ownership of the 2.77 acres disputed land in Ayodhya transferred to Ram Lalla and the land will be given to a trust to be set up by the Centre within three months to build the temple. The Sunni Waqf Board will be given an alternate land of five acres to build a mosque, the Supreme Court announced on Saturday in a historic verdict. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi delivered a unanimous verdict.