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Ram Janmabhoomi- A political and legal history

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Bhagwan Shree Ram is one of the most revered deities of Hinduism. He was born in Ayodhya and ruled his kingdom from there after returning from exile. His rule is also termed as Ram-Rajya and is considered as an ideal state of rule. Ayodhya is situated on the banks of Sarayu river in Uttar Pradesh.

The Beginning of the Ram Mandir issue- As per the ASI findings accepted in the honourable HC of Allahabad (Prayagraj), a temple was built in the medieval age to commemorate his birth place, The Ram Janmabhoomi. Baqi Tashqandi alias Mir Baqi destroyed the temple site in 1528 and built a mosque on the same site which is known as the Babri Masjid or Masjid e Janmabhoomi. Mir Baqi was the general of Babur and in order to please his religiously fanatic ruler, he went on destroying various sacred temples of Hinduism after 1528.

Since 1528 till the early 19th century Muslims prayed inside mosque. A Chabutara (raised platform) was built little outside of the mosque and Hindus prayed over there. In 1853, local riots happened in Ayodhya on a vast scale for the first time. The then British govt raised a fence between the Chabutara and the Mosque on either side and both the communities continued to offer prayers amidst tensions.
In 1885 Mahant Raghuwar Das pleaded in Faizabad court to built a temple over Ram Chabutara. The court denied the plea stating that the Muslims are praying in from 350 years near that site which further intensified the situation. The British judiciary fueled the tensions in both communities by having a bias view.

Rekindling of the dispute- On 22/23rd December 1949, idols of Ramlala were seen inside the mosque. The fence dividing both the sites was broken. The then DM, K.K Nair took control of the premises after local Muslims complained that a few people have allegedly place the idols inside mosque. In January 1950, Mahant Ramchandra Das again filed a plea to allow prayers inside structure. The court decree stated that prayers from both the communities will be done outside and banned entry inside the Mosque. The administration took over the control and Gopal Singh Visharad also filed a plea on the same grounds.

In 1959, The Nirmohi Akhara filed another case asking control over the disputed site and thus the term विवादित ढांचा was coined. Soon the Sunni Waqf board filed a case for removing the idols inside mosque and claimed their control over the site. For next 20-25 years the cases were pending and no action was taken.

The Beginning of Tensions- Vishwa Hindu Parishad called for a Dharma Sansad in 1984 which again fueled tensions. In an unconstitutional move, Rajiv Gandhi govt overturned Supreme Courts order in the Shahbano case which was criticized heavily. The Supreme Court said that the protection for women is for every Indian women irrespective of her religion under article 44 of the Indian Constitution and then government brought an ordinance under the pressure of Muslim fundamentalist orgs. In order to control the damage done by the appeasement policy, something dramatic happened. Faizabad court ordered opening of the structure and within an hour the order was implemented by Rajiv Gandhi govt. They went a step further by broadcasting the ceremony on national television which made the Hindu society happy.

 

In protest, the fundamentalist Muslim organization formed the Babri Masjid Action Committee, whose objective was to fight for the masjid on all platforms. The era of Hindutva politics started and BJP brought this issue on political platform. Meanwhile Bajrang Dal started the Shila Poojan that is collection of the bricks for temple construction. Religious riots broke out in various parts.

The Demolition- Congress lost 1989 General elections and V.P. Singh became the PM with the help of BJP which had 84 seats. The VP govt had support from the left and right parties! L.K Advani started the Rath Yatra on 25th September 1990 which was expected to reach Ayodhya by crossing a 10,000 km distance. He was arrested in Samastipur, Bihar by the Lalu Prasad Administration and the BJP withdraw support from the central govt. On October 30,1990 Karsevaks gathered in Ayodhya and the then Mulayam Singh govt opened fire on the Karsevaks. Hundreds were killed and thrown away in Sharayu river. After Chandrashekar govt collapsed, Rajiv Gandhi was killed in 1991 election campaign and PVN Rao became PM. The BJP won the UP assembly elections with 221 seats and Kalyan Singh became the CM. The BJP acquired the disputed land stating tourism purpose and leased it to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas.

The HC banned any permanent construction on the site. Yet a failed attempt was done by Karsevaks to built a small temple in July 1992. Tensions were rising between the Central and UP government on the issue. PVN Rao tried to mediate and for the first time talks happened between BMAC and VHP. The VHP announced 6th December as Karseva diwas. Many people suggested PVN Rao to declare emergency but he declined saying that the UP govt has ensured that law and order will be maintained. At the same time Kalyan Singh publicly said that no bullets will be fired whatsoever.

 

Around 2 lac people gathered in Ayodhya on 6th December. The BJP and VHP leaders made fierce and provocative speeches few meters away from the site which fueled the situation. After 11 AM the karsevaks climbed the disputed structure and brought it down using hand tools. As an immediate result, Kalyan Singh resigned as CM.

Aftermaths- Soon religious riots broke out in the whole sub continent. Anti Hindu riots were seen in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Around 2000 people from both the sides died in India after riots. Mumbai saw the bomb blasts of 1993 done by Tiger Memom as an revenge of these riots. Liberhan commission was appointed to submit a report which is the longest commission till the date. The report which was leaked accused 68 people including LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and more critically Kalyan Singh.

ASI excavation- In 2003 HC orderd excavation orders to ASI. The report clearly stated that pillars showing Hindu motifs were found. Paintings sighting towards a Hindu temple in the 12th Century were found. Both the sites argued over religious sentiments. The HC clubbed all cases together and on 30th September 2010 HC, in it’s judgement accepted that the disputed site is the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram of Valmiki’s Ramayan. The stated that AIMPLB has no locus standi in this issue and divided the land in 3 parts, 1/3 to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, 1/3 to Nirmohi Akhara and 1/3 to Sunni Waqf board which was later challenged by all parties in SC.

As we are all aware, the honorable SC recently delivered a final judgement in favour of Ramlala by alloting the entire land for temple construction.

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