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Ayodhya verdict: The history of the Babri Masjid site

In 1992, Indian Hindu fundamentalists attack the wall of the 16th century Babri Masjid Mosque with iron rods at a disputed holy site in the city of Ayodhya(Douglas E. Curran/AFP/Getty Images)

After a 60-year debate, the disputed land around the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, India, will be divided into three parts, following a decision by the high court of India.

In the 16th century, the Babri mosque was erected at the site, named for Babar, the first Mughal emperor of India. Babar, a Muslim, supposedly ordered the construction of the mosque.

Many Hindu worshipers believe the mosque was built at the site of the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram.

In the 20th century, there were a number of clashes between Hindu and Muslim worshipers at the site. In 1949, Hindus allegedly brought statues of their deities into the mosque in the middle of the night and in the following days, a huge number of Hindus tried to worship there. The High Court ruled to lock the mosque, closing it to both Muslims and Hindus.

In 1986, the locks were removed and Hindus began to worship there. They set up a temporary temple inside the mosque.

Amid a rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiment, in 1992 huge crowds gathered and demolished the mosque. A wave of violence swept over India as Muslims and Hindus rioted. Thousands were killed in one of the largest clashes between Muslims and Hindus since India's independence from Britain in 1947.

An investigation into the riots began in 1992. Eighteen years later, India has a verdict.

A three-judge panel ruled the land should be divided among three groups. Ram Lalla, a Hindu group that worships Ram and tends to the idol of the god at the center of the site, will control one third of the area, including the center. Its statue of Ram will be allowed to remain where it is.

The other two thirds of the land will go, respectively, to the Sunni Waqf Board, the Muslim group that petitioned for control of the site, and to Nirmohi Akhara, another Hindu group.

The Archaeological Survey of India said there was a Hindu temple at the site before the mosque was built. Two judges said the Hindu temple was demolished to build the mosque. One judge ruled that the temple was not destroyed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the lawyer for the Sunni Waqf Board, Zafaryab Jilani, said it is not a loss for the Muslim community, but they would pursue an appeal of the ruling.

By Melissa Bell  | September 30, 2010; 9:40 AM ET
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I wish the media would be more responsible in reporting this event. They are trying to misrepresent facts in such a manner which can ignite public sentiments.

Before I say anything further, I would like to clarify that I'm a person who had argued in early 1990s that even if a temple stood below the foundation of the mosque, the mosque should not be destroyed. The destruction of the mosque was a shameful act and should not have happened by any means.

I had not looked at the details of his case at that time. Now, post-verdict yesterday, the Allahabad High Court has made all documents of the case public and I have had a look at them.

Those who wish to see it, please go to

Of special note are the conclusions reached by the Justice SU Khan, who was part of the bench (see link above).

I find that the journalists have grossly distorted the facts of the case.

Following are some of the main features of this case -

- This case was not filed to decide about the temple or the mosque or their destruction. Rather, this case was filed to claim rights over the ownership of the land on which these structures are built.

- This case was not the case to decide the rights of two communities, but it was a case filed to claim land ownership by three groups of people - as far as the legal framing of the case goes. Thus, this was a case of property ownership by groups of individuals and not of community rights.

- there was no evidence found that in last 500 years, any of the three groups claiming rights over the land had held ownership of the land.

- There were no evidences found of the building of the mosque by Babur, destruction of the temple by him, or granting of this piece of land to any of the three parties involved by any authorities in history of 500 years.

- None of the three judges have passed a verdict about this land being the place of birthplace of Rama - this is a false claim by the journalists.

- In absence of any evidence of ownership of this land by any of these three groups of people, this land is rightfully described by the court as the government land.

- Since no evidence is there that any of these 3 groups held ownership of this land for past 500 years, there are only popular beliefs involved in this case, respecting the popular beliefs, the court has asked these groups of people to divide this government property equally amongst themselves, which I feel is a grand gesture from the government.

The other verdict could have been that this land belongs to none of these 3 groups. It's a government property they are trying to claim for themselves, so they should leave control of this land. Such a view would not have been acceptable to anyone, hence they have been asked to divide this piece of land amongst themselves.

Contd below...

Posted by: Globalseek | September 30, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Contd from above

Hence, it is wrong to say that two third of the land has been given to the Hindus and one third to the Muslims. There are three parties involved and that's why the land has been divided equally between them, not between Hindus and Muslims.

- Please note that the 3 litigant groups in this case didn't ask for retribution for destruction of the temple or the mosque, but ownership of this piece of land for themselves.

This is a case of land ownership by private individuals, not of religious structures in legal terms.

I think three parties have acted for their own self interest, not for any community. In such an event, it would be foolhardiness on part of the people of India to support any of these 3 parties and get emotionally charged over this.

It is also very wrong on part of the political parties to project this as a victory or loss for any community, since this never was a court case meant for the community. It has been a litigation to claim government land for one's own selfish gains by all three groups involved.

The political parties have attempted to gain political mileage out of this case by arousing public sentiments in a case which was never meant for the community benefit.

Posted by: Globalseek | September 30, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

It is a false claim of Indian Hindus that in 16th Century Mughal Emperor Babar razed Hindu Temple and built a mosque at that site said to be birth place of their God Ram. No such claim were lodged during British Raj in India. The Grandson of Babar the great Mughal Emperor Akbar had a secular approach to governance and he married Hindu Princess and had many Hindu advisers in his court and maintained good relations with Hindus. Had they claimed the mosque was built at the birthplace of their God he would have ordered its demolition.

Prominent Hindu Leaders participated in vandalizing and demolishing the mosque. Neither the police tried to protect the property nor the perpetrators of crime were punished by Indian court. It all shows that India is a Hindu tyranny in the garb of secular democracy.

Posted by: shah1936 | October 2, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

The comments made by these posts are subjective and bereft of any logic and reference to the evidence analysed by the three learned judges.
There is historical record by several scholars, Ali Mian family, daughter of Aurangzeb who lists Ayodhya temple(her MS has been removed from Aligarh Muslim University Library) as pointed by late Professor Harshnarain who was University Grants Commission professor at the university.She l
The Archaelogical Survey of India had done excavations in 2003, using latest techniques in front of the reresentatives of the litigants, on the order of the High Court of Lucknow.The writings of muslim chroniclers of history , among them Aurangzeb's daughter, Baburnama (see over hundred pages attached in Justice Sharma's judgement, in particular Baburnama (memoir of Babur who desecrated and destroyed the Ram Temple through his servant and minion Mir Baqi, in islamic tradition to show conquest and to humiliate the religion of the conquered (the Hindus)).
Islamists had destroyed, as per the account of their own muslim chroclers, thousands of hindu temples in India.
The Indian parliament has passed a bill (Religious Bill of 1993) not to change the 1947 status of many of those mosques erected on the destroyed temples.

Even Gandhi, Munshi, Patel,and Nehru
were unanimous in rebuilding the Somnath temple that had borne the onslought by fanatic invaders, Nadir Shay and Mohammad Gaznavi in order to become Ghazi. They even took the sanctum sanctorams Marbles and put it in their mosques so that the muslims can tread on them.
The left radicals and muslims are trying to destroy history that exposes them, but enough evidence is still available to prove these assertions.
It is a blatant misstatement and a white lie to say that the private individuals were litigating for their own benefits. They should know the Hindu law gives Bhagwan (God) Ram and others like Krishna and other dieties the status of a person who can have a "friend" (the Akhara and others in this just decided law suit)to sue.
Even Justice Khan has written in his summary some of these facts. However, he decided, perhaps as loyalty to his religion, that the Ram temple was not destroyed to build the Babri masjid, in spite of the iron clad evidence provided by the Archaelogical survey of India (please see attachments in the website to Justice Sharma's judgment).

Muslim Waqf located at Lucknow jumped in the litigation only after 1949 invoking minorities and Waqf related laws.

Justice Khan, although a seasoned Judge, displayed his religion by commenting that it is time to spread the teachings of Islam. Waqf attorney Jilani stated in an NDTV discussion that Sharia law should take its course. The Supreme Court will decide as a Kazi (Judge), he continued.
The western societies should look at the case of Cordoba Mosque in Spain which was converted to a Cathedral. Why,just to show that destructions in the past cannot be tolerated by the liberated and independent nations

Posted by: rnkalia | October 4, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

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