Babri Masjid

19 year later .. Still waiting for justice

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History

1528: The Babri Masjid built by Mir Baqi, a nobleman of Babur’s court

1855: The Hanumangarhi episode. Hindu-Muslim conflict as a consequence of an attempt by Muslims under the leadership of Shah Gulam Hussain to oust the Hindu Bairagis from the Hanumangarhi temple on the grounds that the temple had supplanted the mosque. The Muslims were deafeated. The dispute was not over the Babri Masjid.

1857: Soon after the Revolt, the Mahant of Hanumangarhi takes over a part of the Babri Masjid compound and constructs a chabutra.

30 Nov 1857: Maulvi Muhammad Asghar of the Masjid submits a petition to the magistrate complaining that the Bairagis have built a chabutra close to mosque ( similar complaints are made in 1860, 1877, 1883 and 1884)

1859: The British Government erects a fence to seprate the places of worship of the Hindus and the Muslims. The Hindus are to enter from the East gate and the Muslims from the North.

1885:

29th January: The Mahant files a suit to gain legal title to the land in the mosque and for permission to construct a temple on the chabutra.

24th December: The Mahant’s suit and appeals are dismissed. His claim for the proprietorship of the land in the compound of the Masjid in also dismissed by the Judicial Commissioner.

1886:

25th May: The Mahant appeals again to the highest court in the province.

1st November: The Judicial Commissioner dismissed the Mahant’s appeal again.

1936: An inquiry conducted by the then Commissioner of waqf’s under the UP Muslim Waqf Act, and it is held that the Babri Masjid was built by Babur who was a Sunni Muslim.

1949:

22-23rd December: In the night of an idol of Rama was installed by the Hindus inside the mosque. The Government proclaims the premises as disputed area and locks the gates.

1950:

16th January: A suit is filed by Gopal Singh Visharad in the court of the Civil Judge, Faizabad, praying that he is entitled to worship in the Ramjanmabhumi.

24th April: The District Collector of Faizabad, J.N. Ugra, files  a statement in court that the property in suit has been in use as a mosque and not as a temple.

1951:

3rd March: The Civil Judge orders that the idols should remain. The High Court confirms this order on 26 April 1955.

1961:

18 December: The first civil suit by Muslims is filed by the Sunni Central Waqf Board for the delivery of the possession of the mosque by the removal of the idols and other artices of Hindu worship.

1984:

7 and 8 April: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) sponsored Dharma Sansad in a session at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi gives  call to liberate the Ramjanamabhumi.

To create national awareness in support of the liberation of the Bhumi the VHP organizes a rath-yatra of Sri Rama Janaki Virajman on a motorized chariot from Bihar 25 Sept 1984 to reach Ayodhya on 6 October 1984. But Indira Gandhi’s assassination later that month leads to a suspension of the yatra.

1986: Umesh Chandra Pandey files an application in the court of the munsif seeking the removal of the restrictions on the puja. The application is turned down.

1st February: K.M. Pandey, District Judge, Faizabad, orders the opening of the locks to the Hindu for worship. The Muslim community is not allowed to offer any prayers.

March: The Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) is formed. This is followed by a countrywide Muslim ‘mourning’.

12th May: The Sunni Central Waqf Board files a writ petition against the District Judge’s order.

1987:

11 December: The State of Uttar Pradesh applies to the Allahabad High Court that the hearing of the two writ petitions be deferred and the four civil suits be withdrawn from the court of munsif sadar and tried by the High Court.

March: At New Delhi’s Boart Club three lakh Muslims gather to demand handing over the Babri Masjid.

April: The Hindus gather at Ayodhya to pledge the liberation of the shrine.

1988:

December: The Babri Masjid Action Committee splits to form Babri Masjid Movement and the BMAC.

map

1989:

November: The Shilanyas is held at Ayodhya on 9th Novemeber and the foundation of the temple is laid next day. The plinth is dug 192 feet away from the mosque.

On 11th November the VHP leaders declare that the construction of the temple is being deferred and it would be decided in January 1990.

December: A coalition of the Janata Dal, the Bhartiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India forms the Government at the the Centre after the general elections.

1990:

15 February: The new government constitutes a committee to talk to the various groups and find an amicable solution.

October: A rath-yatra, from Somnath to Ayodhya led by the BJP leaders start.

The BJP withdraws support to the Janata Dal Governmet.

In the Shilanyas procession and the kar seva on 30th October performed amidst tight security, several people are killed and injured in the police action.

November: The BJP and the VHP decided to resume the Kar seva on 6th December.

8th December: An attempt to blow up the structure by Suresh Kumar was made, which was foiled.

28th February 1991: Intelligence Bureau perceived imminent threat to Babri Masjid and sent a security plan.

26th June 1991: Kalyan Singh assuemed Chief Minister office in UP.

10th July 1991: The UP government under the garb of promoting tourism and providing amenities for the visitors; acquired 2.77 acres of land in front of disputed structure.

1st October 1991: VHP proposed a Bajrang Maha Rudra Yagya from 1st Oct to November. On 31st October, Karsevaks climbed the domes of the disputed structure by jumping over the security cardons. They were removed from there along with their flags.

2nd Nov 1991:  In a meeting of the National Integration Council, Kalyan Singh gave an assurance

” as regards the disputed structure I want to make it clear that I assured you the entire responsibility of the protection of the disputed structure in ours. We should be vigilant about the disputed structure. We have strengthened the arrangements for its protection. Now nobody will be able to go there. No incident would be allowed to be repeated when three person climbed on the top of the dome. I want to convey this assurance to you through this council. Overall, it is our clear submission regarding the court; we will abide by the order given by the court. We do not want to do anything by violating its order”

30the December 1991: Road barriers were removed from the feeder roads leading to the disputed structure. Removal of barrier allowed freedom of movement to the larger member of public visiting the disputed structure. Barbed wires and barriers,especially those immediately behind the disputed structure, were removed on or about 2nd of January 1992.

17th Feb 1992: Construction by UP government of the security wall know as Ram Dewar measuring 8 to 10 feet in height, on the three sides of acquired land at Ayodhya including the disputed structure commenced. An overall impression was created that construction of Ram Dewar was a major step taken for construction of temple by the state.

4th May 1992: Barbed wire, concertina rolls and iron pipe barricades were removed from western, eastern and southern sides and from the road outside the complex.

11th July 1992: Ministry of Home Affairs pointed out as man as 12 serious security lapses and deficiencies.

13 to 15th July 1992: S.B. Chavan the Home Minister of India informed the Lok Sabha that UP government had violated the court’s order. The Supreme Court aked for the details as to whether any permanent construction had been made etc. The High Court directed construction to be stopped. The administration however failed to implement this order although it proclaimed to have made attempts to implement it.

23rd August 1992: K alyan Singh in spite of being Chief Minsiter declared that ” If the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court with respect to Ram temple would be against the emotion of Hindus, we will make a separate law for the construction of temple”

September 1992: It was announced that Charan Paduka Puja would commence from 26th of September and go on till the 25th November. Sadhus would carry Charan Paduka to 6,00,000 villages for recruiting 60,00,000 Karsevaks. Karsevaks recruited were required to swear an oath that they would not return from Ayodhya before the construction of temple was complete.

October 1992: Commissioner SP Gaur Faizabad was of the perception that the call for Karseva given by VHP was for construction of temple on 2.77 acres acquired land and at the disputed site. He sought appropriate directions for security of the disputed structure in view of these changed circumstances. A reminder was sent by him on the 14th October.

An assurance was given by the state to the Supreme Court that no construction would be carried out in the acquired land.

Bal Thackeray took a decision on 25th October 1992 to participate in the Karseva. It was announced that this was not going to be a mere symbolic Karseva, but the actually Karseva at the spot by construction of temple.

On 29th October, the negotiations collapsed.

VHP called and organized a meeting of the Dharam Sansad on the 30th October for deciding the future course of action. Sants wanted the Prime Minister to hand over the disputed structure to Hindus. Acharya Dharmendra Dev Stated that he had already decided the 6th December 1992 for the Karseva, which decision was later approved by all sadhus.

November 92: The Chief Minister refused to associate the CRPF or the Intelligence Bureau in reviewing the security, asserting that State Government was competent to secure the disputed structure.

On 1st November, the Prime Minister had assured the AIBMAC that the government would not allow karseva and that the law would take its own course.

On 3rd November, A K Saran formed the opinion that approximately 1,50,000 karsevaks would be coming to Ayodhya on the 6th of December and therefore wrote to DIG Faizabad asking him to make arrangements for security, crowd management and traffic management.

The Allahabad High Court, concluded hearing the challenges to the acquisition on 4th November, and reserved judgment. The judgment was slated to be pronounced on the 29th November but was later postponed to the 5th December and to the 11th December. It was finally pronounced on the 12th of December 1992.

The BJP and RSS suspended all other programmes with effect from 15th November in order to clear the decks for the 6th December.

In the absence of the Prime Minister, to take stock of the situation Cabinet Committee meeting of Arjun Singh, Sharat Pawar and SB Chavan took place on 20th and 26th of November 1992. By now, the number of Karsevaks likely to come to Ayodhya was estimated to be 4 to 5 lakhs.

It was reported in media that the IB had, in its dispatches dated 22nd of November, stated that the Sangh intended to demolish the structure.

In view of the threat perception the Central Government had, by the 24th of November stationed 195 companies of paramilitary forces around Ayodhya. The Chief Minister on the 25th November objected and protested against the stationing of forces at Ayodhya and demanded the withdrawal.

The Supreme Court invited an assurance from the VHP leaders and the State Government to the effect that no construction of either permanent or temporary nature would take place.

On the 28th November, the UP Government undertook to comply with the court’s order dated 25th of November, to the effect that no construction of permanent or temporary nature would take place, though to assuage the religious feeling of Ram Bhakts, construction at some other place would take place.

VHP leaders Chinmayanad and Vijay Raje Scindia filed affidavits in the Supreme Court undertaking that neither any construction would be done nor any construction material would be carried in the Ram Janam Bhoomi Babri Masjid complex. They accepted that the Karseva would only be symbolic and only for assuaging the feelings of the Karsevaks.

Kalyan Singh called an emergency meeting of Ministers and directed them to mobilize Karsevaks in UP, at least 10 people from each Gram Panchayats of which were 75,000.

It was obvious and categorically admitted that no effort to restrict, check or regulate the number of Karsevaks in Ayodhya or Faizabad was made.  The Karsevaks were using the graveyards to defacate. Karsevaks entered into the old mosque and stoned the scooter borne peace rally organized by Congress. Mazar of Maqi Shah, Babri Mazar and another Mazar at Ram Katha Kunj were damaged and graves leveled.

On 29th November, ringing of thalis, blowing of conches, ringing of bells etc was carried out

1st December 1992: The DM informed the government that between 6 and 7 am hours about 35 unknown people damaged 3 graves situated in Kuber Tilla and on the corner of southern side road of the State Park.

2nd December 1992: About 60,000 Karsevaks were present in Ayodhya. The district administration asked for more force to deal with these numbers which was declined by the State Government.

5th December 1992: CM Kalyan Singh,once again and in writing this time, ordered against the use firearms specifically on the 6th of December.

6th December 1992:

On that Sunday morning, LK Advani and others met at Vinay Katiyar’s residence. They then proceeded to the disputed structure, the report says. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Katiyar reached the puja platform where symbolic Kar Seva was to be performed, and Advani and Joshi checked arrangements for the next 20 minutes. The two senior leaders then moved 200 metre away to the Ram Katha Kunj. This was a building facing the disputed structure where a dais had been erected for senior leaders. Religious leaders and others had been making fiery speeches at Ram Katha Kunj for some time.

At noon, a teenaged Kar Sevak was “vaulted” on to the dome and that signaled the breaking of the outer cordon. The report notes that at this time Advani, Joshi and Vijay Raje Scindia made “feeble requests to the Kar Sevaks to come down… either in earnest or for the media’s benefit”. No appeal was made to the Kar Sevaks not to enter the sanctum sanctorum or not to demolish the structure. The report notes: “This selected act of the leaders itself speaks of the hidden intentions of one and all being to accomplish demolition of the disputed structure.”

The demolition was accomplished by smashing holes inside the walls of masjid. Ropes were inserted through these holes in the walls under the domes; the walls were pulled down with these ropes, bringing down the domes as well.

The Idols and cash box removed to safe place before the Karsevaks went inside the domes were placed at their original place at about 7 pm. The construction of a temporary make-shift temple commenced at about 7:30 pm through karseva.

Chief Minister Kalyan Singh announced at 6:45 pm that he had resigned. The Central Government on the other hand claimed that the Chief Minister Kalyan Singh was dismissed.

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Source: “Anatomy of a conforntation” Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, Wikipedia and Liberhan Commission report.

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