The Supreme Court’s historic verdict on 9th November 2019 finally marked the end of a 500 year old epic battle by Hindus to reclaim the holy Ramjanmabhoomi at Ayodhya by righting a historic monumental wrong perpetrated by barbaric invader Babur in 1528, when he ordered his General Mir Baqi to demolish a pre-existing temple at the holy site and construct a mosque called Babari Masjid dedicated to his 17 year old boy lover named Babar.
This article traces the chronology of the 134 years legal battle fought in courts of law at various levels culminating in finally succeeding to right the historical wrong.
1528: Babur’s General Mir Baqi demolishes a pre-existing ancient Temple marking the birth place of Bhagwan Ram.
1528 to 1885: Hindus had been relentlessly trying to free the Ramjanmabhoomi site from the Islamists by waging battles every year and losing several lives in the process.
1885: First case filed in January 1885 in the Court of Sub-Judge, Faizabad by Mahant Raghubar Das who was the main seer who led the legal fight for Ramjanmabhoomi land at Ayodhya.
1949: In the intervening night of 22-23 December 1949, idol of Bhagwan Ram appeared at the Ramjanmabhoomi site beneath the main dome of the disputed structure.
1950: On 16th Jan 1950, Gopal Singh Visharad filed a case in Faizabad civil court for exclusive rights to perform puja and a permanent injunction for prohibiting removal of idol from Ramjanmabhoomi.
1959: On 17th December 1959, Nirmohi Akhara filed a suit seeking of the site claiming to be its custodians.
1961: On 18th December 1961, Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board along with nine Muslim residents filed a claim over mosque, adjoining land and demanded removal of the idols.
They filed the suit just a few days before 12 years of adverse possession passes, which would have permanently extinguished their claim over the disputed structure.
1986: In Feb 1986, District Judge directed the unlocking of the gates to allow Hindu worshippers into the site to pray.
In late 1986, the Babri Masjid Action Committee was formed.
1989: On 1st July 1989, former VHP President and retired High Court Judge, Deoki Nandan Agarwal filed the case at Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court in the name of Bhagwan Ram Lalla Virajman (Ram Lalla).
On 14th August 1989 Allahabad High Court ordered status quo to be maintained.
On 10th November 1989, gates to the site was unlocked by Congress government in UP as desired by Rajiv Gandhi.
In late 1989, all four suits were clubbed together and brought before Allhabad High Court.
1992: On 6th December 1992, the disputed structure was demolished by a huge sea of kar sevaks who were tired of waiting for the legal process to end.
Justice Liberhan Commission was set up to inquire into the demolition of the disputed structure.
President’s Rule was imposed in Uttar Pradesh and Kalyan Singh led BJP government was dismissed by the Congress government in Centre.
1993: Congress government at Centre passes the “Acquisition of Certain Areas at Ayodhya Act” to acquire 6.67 acres of land which included the disputed area.
Ismail Farooqi filed a petition challenging the validity of the Act.
1994: Supreme Court decides, for the purpose of acquisition of land by the government, Mosque is not an ‘essential part of practice of religion of Islam’ and Namaz can be read anywhere, ‘even in open’ in the Farooqi case.
1996: Allahabad High Court started recording oral evidence in July 1996.
2002: A three judge High Court bench start hearing the case. The HC directed ASI to excavate to find if a temple existed beneath the site.
2003: In June 2003 ASI report proved that a Hindu temple existed beneath the site.
In August 2003, CBI filed chargesheet against LK Advani and other leaders for the demolition of the disputed structure.
But Advani, then being Deputy Prime Minister, was exempted from trial.
In March 2003, Supreme Court disallowed all religious activity at the acquired land.
2004: Soon after Congress led UPA government came to power, court ruled that the order exonerating Advani should be reviewed.
2009: Liberhan Commission submits its report after grant of 48 extensions.
2010: Allahabad High in its judgement on 30th September 2010, pronounced that the disputed site was indeed Ramjanmabhoomi and an ancient temple was razed to build the Babari Masjid. The High Court divided land in three parts allotting one-third each to Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’.
In December 2010, the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha and Sunni Waqf Board challenged the High Court’s decision in SC.
2011: In May 2011, Supreme Court stayed the HC order and said that status quo should be maintained.
2016: BJP MP Dr Subramanian Swamy filed a plea in the Supreme Court on 26 February 2016 for the construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.
2017: On 21st March 2017, CJI JS Khehar suggests out-of-court settlement to settle the dispute.
A three Judge bench is formed by SC on 7th August 2017, challenging 1994 verdict in Ismail Farooqi case.
The UP Shia Waqf Board files Affidavit in SC asking for the whole site to be given to Hindus and a mosque to be built at a distance away from the site.
On 1st December 2017, 32 so-called ‘civil rights activists’ contest the Allahabad High Court verdict.
2018: In February 2018, Supreme Court rejected all intervener pleas and said only the original parties to the case would be heard in the appeal.
In April 2018, controversial senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan files plea on behalf of Muslim bodies to refer the review of Ismail Farooqi 1994 judgement to a constitutional bench.
In July 2018, the UP government led by CM Yogi Adityanath opposed the plea for referring Farooqi case review to larger bench saying, it is time wasting tactics by the other side.
In September 2018, Supreme Court declined to refer Farooqi case to five judge bench.
2019: CJI Ranjan Gogoi formed a five Judge constitutional bench to hear the appeals.
The SC also appointed a mediation panel to resolve the issue amicably through mutual consent.
As mediation failed, daily hearings on the appeal began from 6th August 2019.
9th November 2019: The Supreme Court gave a historic verdict on the Ramjanmabhoomi case on 9th November 2019. The whole of the disputed site was allotted to the Hindus for construction of a grand Ram Temple.
Muslims were ordered to be allotted a separate five-acre site at a prominent place in Ayodhya for the construction of a Mosque.
30th September 2021: The special court in Lucknow acquitted all the 32 accused including prominent BJP leaders like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati, etc. in the 1992 Babari Masjid demolition case.
Thus, the SC verdict on 9th November 2019 along with the 30 September 2021 verdict of Lucknow court finally vindicated the stand of Hindus and their claim to the holy Ramjanmabhoomi site at Ayodhya. The 500 year old battle came at a very heavy cost where lakhs of Hindus gave their lives not only while defending the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya in 1528 against the barbaric Islamist invading army but also later in several battles fought almost every year to reclaim their holy site. Thousands of Hindu devotees also lost their lives when the peaceful procession of kar sevaks was fired on in 1990 on the orders of Mulayam Singh, the then CM of UP.
By this Ramjanmabhoomi movement Hindus have proved their relentless perseverance to reclaim their Sanatani Asmita and National Honour by regaining their ancient Hindu temples from the Islamic structures built on demolished Hindu temples by the barbaric Islamist invaders right from Mohammad Ghori onwards.
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.