The Supreme Court will resume the hearing of the contentious Babri Masjid-Ram Temple land temple dispute case on July 20. The Ayodhya dispute boils down to a plot of land in the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. The site is regarded among Hindus as the birthplace of Lord Rama. But it also historically locates the Babri mosque. According to the Hindus, the land on which the Babri mosque was built in 1528 is the 'Ram Janmabhoomi' (birthplace of the god-king Rama). But, Mir Baqi, one of Mughal king Babur's generals, is said to have destroyed a pre-existing temple of Rama and built a mosque called Babri Masjid (Babur's mosque) at the site.
Here is a recap of the Babri-Masjid dispute:
# 1527- During the reign of Babur, the first Mughal emperor, many have claimed that an old Hindu temple was demolished and a mosque constructed at the same place in Ayodhya and named after Babur.
# 1859- The colonial British administration put a fence around the site, denominating separate areas of worship for Hindus and Muslims. That is how it stood for about 90 years.
# 1949- Idols were placed 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 civil suits were filed for ownership of the Plot no 583 of the area.
# 1961- A case filed in Indian courts against forceful occupation of the Babri Mosque and placing of idols within it.
# 1984- Case filed in Indian courts against forceful occupation of the Babri Mosque and placing of idols within it.
# 1986- A district judge ordered the gates of the mosque to be opened after 37 years 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 gates were opened in less than an hour after the court decision.
# 1990- V P Singh became the Prime Minister of India with support of BJP which had won 58 seats in the election, a massive improvement from its last tally of 2 seats. The then BJP president LK Advani took out a cross-country rath-yatra to garner support for the move to build a Ram temple at the site. On 23 October, he was arrested in Bihar during the yatra, following which BJP took back its support to the government. Chandra Shekhar became the Prime Minister of India with support of the Congress. On October 30, many were gunned down by the police on orders of the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, when they gathered in Ayodhya as participants of the Rath-Yatra.
# 1991- Congress came to power at center after elections in 1991, while BJP became major opposition party in center and came to power in many states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Kalyan Singh became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. State government acquired 2.77 acre land in the area and gave it on lease to RamJanmBhoomi Nyas Trust. The Allahbad High Court stopped any permanent construction activity in the area. Kalyan Singh publicly supported the movement while Central Government took no action to curb the increasing tensions. In spite of the High Court judgement, disputed area was leveled.
# 1992- Kalyan Singh took steps to support the movement such as making entry into area easier, promising no firing on Karsevaks, opposing decision of the central government to send Central Police force in the area, etc. In July, several thousand Karsevaks assembled in the area and the work for the maintenance of temple started. This activity was stopped after the intervention of the prime minister. Meetings started between Babri Masjid Action Committee and VHP leaders in presence of the home minister. On October 30, Dharam Sansad of VHP proclaimed in Delhi that the talks have failed and Karseva will presume from 6 December. Central Government was considering the deployment of central police forces in the area and dissolution of state government but in the end, decided against it. The case was being heard in the Supreme Court which told that State Government is responsible for ensuring law and order in the area. The government was discussing it in Cabinet Committee meeting and Rashtriya Ekta Parishad. BJP boycotted the Parishad. The Allahabad High Court was hearing the matter of legality of structure of foundation laid in 1989.
# December 6, 1992- The Babri Mosque was demolished by a gathering of near 200,000 Karsevaks. Communal riots across India followed.
# December 16, 1992- Ten days after the demolition, the Congress government at the Centre, headed by PV Narasimha Rao, set up a commission of inquiry under Justice Liberhan.
# 1993- The Liberhan Commission began investigation into who and what led to the demolition of the Babri Mosque.
# February 27, 2002- At 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 2000 people were unofficially reported to have died in these.
# 2003- 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. Muslim groups disputed the findings. In the same year, A court ruled that seven Hindu leaders, including some prominent BJP leaders, should stand trial for inciting the destruction of the Babri Mosque.
# 2004- An Uttar Pradesh court ruled that an earlier order which exonerated LK Advani for his role in the destruction of the mosque should be reviewed.
# 2007- The Supreme Court refused to admit a review petition on the Ayodhya dispute.
# 2009- The Liberhan Commission submits its report.
# September 30, 2010- The Allahabad High Court pronounces its verdict on four title suits relating to the Ayodhya dispute on 30 September 2010. Ayodhya land to be divided into three parts. one-third goes to Ram Lalla represented by Hindu Maha Sabha, one-third to Sunni Wakf Board, and the rest one-third goes to Nirmohi Akhara.
# December 2010- The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and Sunni Waqf Board moved to the Supreme Court of India, challenging part of the Allahabad High Court’s verdict.
# 2011- Supreme Court of India stayed the High Court order splitting the disputed site in three parts and said that status quo will remain. The two-judge bench of Supreme Court remarked that the High Court ruling was surprising as no party wanted a split of the site.
# 2017- Supreme Court of India Full bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer has set 8 February 2018 as the date for final hearing on the case.
# July 6, 2018- SC fixes July 13 as the next date of hearing of the case.
# July 13, 2018- Supreme Court to continue hearing the Ayodhya -Babri Masjid land dispute matter on July 20.