TIMELINE – Babri Mosque in India

Here is the timeline of historic Babri Mosque in India:


Mir Baqi, a military officer of the first Mughal Emperor Zahir ud-Din Muhammad Babur, orders construction of mosque in Ayodhya, city in the Faizabad district of northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.


For first time, Hindus claim site was birthplace of Lord Rama and that the mosque was constructed after demolition of a temple. This claim leads to communal riots in the city during reign of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh. Platform known as Ram Chabootra is erected outside mosque for Hindus to worship.  


British annexes state of Awadh and deposes its ruler, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.


British build a fence separating platform from mosque, with inner court to be used by Muslims and outer court by Hindus. 


Hindus approach court to claim property. Mahant Raghubir Das also asks for building of canopy on Ram Chabootra. British district judge rejects the claim.


In dead of night, some Hindus scale the wall and place idol of Ram inside the mosque. Hindus spread message that idols “miraculously” appeared inside mosque. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, takes firm stand against illegal installation of idols, insisting they be removed. Local official K.K.K. Nair (known for Hindu nationalist connections) refuses to carry out orders, claiming that they would lead to communal riots. He instead locks mosque. Hashim Ansari, local Muslim, approaches court for removal of idols and restoration of prayers.


Hindu man Gopal Singh Visharad files suit seeking permission for right to worship the idols installed at “Asthan Janmabhoomi.” Court allows the worship and does not remove the idols. 


Hindu group Nirmohi Akhara files suit for possession of the site, claiming they are custodians of spot where Ram was supposedly born.


Sunni Waqfs Board join court battle against forceful idol installation and seek possession of mosque and adjoining land. 


On basis of Hari Shankar Dubey’s plea, district court orders gate unlocked for Hindu community.  


Deoki Nandan Agarwala, vice president of right-wing Hindu group Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), files suit for title and possession of land, at Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court. 


High court appoints special bench to hear dispute.


VHP launches movement to reclaim land and birthplace of Lord Ram. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — later India’s ruling party — lends support, making this a poll plank. VHP puts foundation stone on land adjacent to disputed mosque.


VHP activists partially damage mosque. Police fire on and kill many of its activists.

Dec. 6, 1992

Mosque razed to ground by frenzied mob. Riots break out all over country.  

Dec. 16, 1992

Central government appoints Librahan Commission (Librahan Ayodhya Commission for Inquiry) under retired High Court Judge M. S. Liberhan to investigate destruction of Babri Mosque. Case filed against top BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others for conspiring in demolition


Allahabad High Court combines all civil suits under a single table.


Special court drops criminal conspiracy charges against L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti and others for their role in demolition.


High Court directs Archaeological Survey of India to see if there is any evidence of claimed temple beneath mosque.

High Court starts hearing to determine real owner of Babri Mosque site.


After excavation to find evidence of temple beneath Babri Mosque site, Archaeological Survey of India submits report claiming evidence of stone columns and pillars. 


Librahan Commission submits report accusing BJP politicians of playing role in 1992 demolition of mosque. 


Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court reserves its order and suggests all parties resolve issue through friendly discussion, but little interest is shown. 


Allahabad High Court rules that disputed land be divided in three: one-third going to Ram Lalla (under representation of Hindu Mahasabha); one-third to the Muslim Waqf Board; and remaining third to Nirmohi Akhara. 


All parties challenge Allahabad High Court ruling at Supreme Court. 


Supreme Court stays Allahabad High Court ruling on splitting disputed land and restores status quo.


Vishwa Hindu Parishad declares nationwide movement to collect stones for construction of Ram Mandir at site of Babri Mosque. 


On basis of Babri Mosque demolition case, Supreme Court says charges against Advani and other leaders cannot be dropped and case must be revived. It reinstates conspiracy case against politicians like L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and Uma Bharti. The apex court also orders Allahabad Court’s bench of Lucknow to complete hearing within two years.


Supreme Court decides to start final hearing. The court directs Uttar Pradesh government to translate case documents of 9,000-plus pages (523 documentary exhibits) within 12 weeks. Documents include scripts and records written in various languages, including Pali, Arabic, Persian, Gurumukhi, and Urdu.


Supreme Court starts hearing civil appeals.


Supreme Court sets up five-judge Constitution Bench to hear land dispute case headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, with Justices S.A. Bobde, N.V. Ramana, U.U. Lalit, and D.Y. Chandrachud.

Lalit recuses himself, prompting Supreme Court to reschedule hearing before new bench.

Supreme Court reconstitutes five-member Constitution Bench to hear case: Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, and S.A. Nazeer. 

March 2019

Supreme Court favors mediation, refers dispute for mediation by panel headed by former Supreme Court judge F.M.I. Kallifulla.

May 2019

Mediation team submits final report to Supreme Court. Court decides to go ahead with day-to-day hearing.

Aug. 2019

Supreme Court starts day to day hearing of case.  

Oct. 16, 2019

After 40 days of marathon arguments, Supreme Court concludes hearing and reserves judgement.

Nov. 9, 2019

Indian Supreme Court decides to hand over historic site of Babri Mosque to Hindus for the construction of a temple. The court also says Muslims be given alternate piece of land for building a mosque.
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