Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ayodhya Debate-History of Babri Masjid

The Ayodhya debate is a political, historical and socio-religious debate that was most prevalent in the 1990s in India, centred around a plot of land in the city of Ayodhya. The main issues revolve around access to a site traditionally regarded as the birthplace of the Hindu God 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 by hardline Hindu activists during a political rally which turned into a riot on December 6, 1992.

History of Babri Masjid

A view of the Babri Mosque, pre-1992
When the Muslim emperor Babar came down from Farghana in 1527, he defeated the Hindu King of Chittorgarh, Rana Sangram Singh at Fatehpur Sikri, using cannon and artillery. After this victory, Babur took over the region, leaving his general, Mir Banki, in charge as Viceroy.

Mir Banki enforced Mughal rule over the population. Mir Banki came to Ayodhya in 1528 and built the Mosque. The main reason to build the Mosque in Ayodhya was because it served as a central point of India under the Mughal Empire. Later on the Mughal Empire shifted to Delhi.

Mir Banki after building the mosque named it after his master Babar.
Before the 1940s, the mosque was called Masjid-i Janmasthan ("mosque on birthplace") by Indian Muslims. The Babri Mosque was one of the largest mosques in Uttar Pradesh, a state in India with some 31 million Muslims.

Timeline of the debate

  Year    Date  Event[citation needed]
The Babri Masjid was built in Ayodhya in 1528. Hindu groups claim it was built after demolishing a temple.
The first recorded communal clashes over the site date back to this year.
The colonial British administration put a fence around the site, denominating separate areas of worship for Hindus and Muslims. And that is the way it stood for about 90 years.
In December of that year, idols were put 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 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.
A district judge ordered the gates of the mosque to be opened after almost five decades 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 clamour for building a Ram temple was growing. Fronted by organizations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, foundations of a temple were laid on land adjacent to the "disputed structure."
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. VHP volunteers partially damaged the Babri mosque. Prime Minister Chandrashekhar intervened and tried to negotiate with the various groups. But talks failed.
Riding high on the success of Advani's rathyatra, the BJP became India's primary opposition party in Parliament and came to power in Uttar Pradesh.
The movement for building a temple gathered further momentum with Karsevaks or Hindu volunteers pouring into Ayodhya. Bricks were sent from across India.
1992December 6The Babri mosque was demolished by Karsevaks. Communal riots across India followed.
1992December 16Ten days after the demolition, the Congress government at the Centre, headed by PV Narasimha Rao, set up a commission of inquiry under Justice Liberhan.
Three months after being constituted, the Liberhan Commission began investigations into who and what led to the demolition of the Barbri mosque.
Tensions rose on the anniversary of the demolition of the mosque as the VHP reaffirmed its resolve to build a temple at the site.
2002February 27At 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 1000 people were reported to have died in these.
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. But Muslim groups disputed the findings.
2003SeptemberA court ruled that seven Hindu leaders, including some prominent BJP leaders, should stand trial for inciting the destruction of the Babri Mosque.
2004NovemberAn Uttar Pradesh court ruled that an earlier order which exonerated LK Advani for his role in the destruction of the mosque should be reviewed.
The Supreme Court refused to admit a review petition on the Ayodhya dispute.
The Liberhan Commission, which was instituted ten days after the demolition of the Barbri mosque in 1992, submitted its report on June 30 - almost 17 years after it began its inquiry. Its contents were not made public.
The Allahabad High Court to pronounce its verdict on four title suits relating to the Ayodhya dispute on September 30, 2010

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