25 YEARS AFTER BABRI
Looking back at the events in Ayodhya and how it changed the course of the country’s history
Kar sevaks scaling Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992
The first reference to the Babri Masjid occupying the site of the Ram Janmabhoomi was by a Faizabad court official, Hafizullah, almost two centuries ago in 1822—the “mosque founded by Emperor Babur is situated at the birthplace of Ram”. In the 1850s, the Nirmohi Akhara, a religious denomination of sadhus belonging to the Vaishnava sampradaya, made its first legal claim on the disputed land.
In 1885, Mahant Raghubar Das of the Nirmohi Akhara filed Suit No. 61/280 in the Faizabad court against the Secretary of State for India, seeking permission to build a Ram temple on the Ram Chabutra (raised platform), adjacent to the Babri Masjid. The court refused, fearing public disorder.
The dispute took a dramatic turn in 1949 when on the night of December 22, an idol of Ram Lalla (baby Ram) appeared mysteriously under the central dome of Babri Masjid. Puja began soon after. On January 16, 1950, a long legal battle started. The first case was filed by a Hindu Mahasabha lawyer, Gopal Singh Visharad, in the Faizabad court, seeking permission to worship the idol and an injunction against shifting it. The court disallowed the removal of the idol. The next day, one Anisur Rahman, filed a petition—the first legal volley by Muslims in the dispute after independence.
In 1959, the Nirmohi Akhara filed a suit claiming a temple existed at the Babri Masjid site in ancient times and the land belonged to the akhara. The suit was clubbed together with other suits filed in the past. On December 18, 1961, representatives of the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board responded. Today, the Nirmohi Akhara, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas (representing Ram Lalla) and Sunni Waqf Board are the three primary parties in the dispute.
The mahant of Nirmohi Akhara files a case, seeks nod to build a canopy on the Ram Chabutra. Plea rejected by Faizabad district judge: “It is too late now to remedy the grievance”