The History and Time Line of disputes of Babri Masjid till today.

The History and Time Line of disputes of Babri Masjid till today.


This is a continuation of the previous article –  Ayodhya: Faith and Facts in the land of disputes.

The issue of Babri Masjid have been an argument in our memory. Here is the detailed history and time line from where it started.


During the reign of Babur, the first Mughal emperor, some have claimed that an old Hindu temple was demolished, and a mosque constructed at the same place in Ayodhya and named after Babur.


Groups of Hindu priests and Muslim clash–the first recorded incident of violence over the holy site


Epic court dispute begins

Mahant Raghubir Das, a Hindu priest, files the first court case and seeks permission to build a canopy on the Ramchabutra (a raised platform) outside the mosque. Faizabad district court rejects his plea.

Dec 1949

Locked and contested

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.

1950 and 1959

Hindu argument

Two Hindu priests file suits before the Faizabad court seeking permission to offer prayers to Ram idols in the janamsthan (birthplace of Ram). While the inner courtyard remains locked, prayers are allowed. The Nirmohi Akhara files a third suit seeking possession of the site and claiming to be the custodians of Ram Janmabhoomi.


The Sunni Central Board of Waqf files a case against the placing of idols in the mosque, challenges claims that the building and surrounding land were once a graveyard


Hindu groups form a committee to lead the construction of a Ram temple at the Janmabhoomi site. The temple movement gathers momentum under BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani


Disputed site’s gates opened

Lawyer Umesh Chandra Pandey appeals before district and sessions judge that the Ram Janmabhoomi gates be unlocked on the grounds that the Faizabad district administration, and not a court, had ordered its closure. Court orders the government to open the Ram Janmabhonmi for “darshan and pooja”


The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) lays the foundation of a Ram temple on the land next to the Babri Masjid. A VHP leader files a case asking for the mosque to be shifted elsewhere.

Nov 9, 1989

Months before Lok Sabha elections, the Rajiv Gandhi government allows the VHP to perform shilanyas (laying of foundation stone) for a Ram temple.


Yatra and show of force

BJP president Lal Krishna Advani goes on a Somnath-to-Ayodhya rath yatra to “educate people” about the movement to build a temple at the disputed site. Thousands of kar sevaks (volunteers) gather in Ayodhya. Mosque is partially damaged and 30 are killed in police firing.


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.


Kalyan Singh took steps to support the movement such as making entry into area easier, promising no firing on Karsevaks, opposing decision of central government to send Central Police force in the area, etc. In July, several thousand Karsevaks assembled in the area and the work for maintenance of temple started. This activity was stopped after intervention of the prime minister. Meetings started between Babri Masjid Action Committee and VHP leaders in presence of the home minister. On 30 October, 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 Allahbad High Court was hearing the matter of legality of structure of foundation laid in 1989.

Dec 6, 1992

Dark day for India

Kar sevaks demolish Babri Masjid, sparking riots across India in which an estimated 2,000 people are killed. Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao’s government dismisses BJP govts in UP, MP, Rajasthan and Himachal

Dec 16, 1992

Ten days after the mosque was demolished, Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao sets up a commission of inquiry under retired judge Justice MS Liberhan.

Sept 1997

Top BJP leaders face court heat

A special court hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case orders framing of charges against 49 accused, including senior BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan.


BJP forms a coalition government in Delhi.


VHP sets March 2002 as deadline for beginning the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Feb 4, 2002

Under pressure from VHP, the Centre files an application in the Supreme Court for vacating the ‘interim order’ banning any religious activity in Ayodhya.

Feb 6, 2002

Kar sevaks killed in Godhra

At least 59 people are killed when a train in Godhra in Gujarat which was carrying Kar sevaks from Ayodhya is attacked. Riots erupt across Gujarat in which over 1,000 people are killed

Apr 2002

Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court begins hearings on determining who owns the Ayodhya site.

Jun 2002

Prime Minister AB Vajpayee sets up an Ayodhya cell to hold talks with Hindu and Muslim leaders.

Jun 2009

The Liberhan commission submits its report but its contents are not made public.

Jul 26, 2010

The Lucknow bench of Allahabad HC reserves its judgment and advises all parties to solve the issue amicably.

Sept 30, 2010

Court say split land, settle dispute

The High Court rules there be a three-way division of the disputed land: one-third for the Sunni Waqf Board, one-third for the Nirmohi Akhara and one-third to the party for ram lalla.

May 2011

The Supreme Court suspends the High Court’s ruling after Hindu and Muslim groups appeal against it.

Feb 2015

Trying for settlement out of courts

Hindu and Muslim litigants meet to discuss a new proposal for resolution which they plan to put before the Supreme Court. The formula for settlement talks about the 70 acres of disputed site accommodating both mosque and temple, but it doesn’t take off.

Mar 2015

Supreme Court issues notices to BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi following a petition against dropping of conspiracy charges against them in the Babri Masjid demolition case.


Litigants meet twice again for settling the dispute amicably, but fail.

Mar 21, 2017

Supreme Court calls for an amicable settlement to dispute over who owns the site, saying the “sensitive and sentimental matter” is best settled out of court.

Apr 19, 2017

No relief for BJP leaders

Supreme Court says senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others will be tried for conspiring to demolish Babri Masjid.

Dec 5, 2017

Whose land is it anyway?

The Supreme Court decides to hear the civil appeals filed by various parties challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute on February 8 next year. A special bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, justice Ashok Bhushan and justice S Abdul Nazeer assembled to hear a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad high court in four civil suits. Judges also asked the advocates on record of appeals to sit together and ensure that all the requisite documents are translated, filed and numbered before the apex court registry.

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