December 6, 1992 has etched its place in India’s political history after a mob comprising hundreds demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya 26 years ago. The event not only changed the political landscape but also catapulted the Uttar Pradesh town of Ayodhya to the centrestage of national politics. Barely months away from the left Lok Sabha election, Ayodhya, Babri Masjid and Ram Temple continue to remain the focal point of politics for parties and seasoned leaders.
On this day, we take a look at the chronology of events that led to Babri Masjid demolition and subsequent developments till date.
1528: Commander of Mughal emperor Babur, Mir Baqi built the Babri Masjid.
1885: Plea filed by Mahant Raghubir Das in Faizabad district court. The plea seeks the court’s approval to construct a canopy outside the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure. Plea rejected by the court
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1949: Anonymous persons place idols of Ram Lalla under a central dome outside the disputed structure.
1950: Gopal Simla Visharad files suit in Faizabad district court seeking rights to worship the idols of Ram Lalla.
1950: Another suit filed by Paramahansa Ramachandra Das for the continuation of worship and keeping the idols.
1959: Nirmohi Akhara files suit and seeks possession of the site.
1981: Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board files suit for possession of the site.
February 1, 1986: After years of filing pleas, a local court in Uttar Pradesh directs the government to open the site for Hindu worshippers.
August 14, 1989: Three years after the local court judgement, Allahabad HC orders maintenance of status quo in respect of the disputed structure.
December 6, 1992: A group of angry mob demolish Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure.
April 3, 1993: Central government passes ‘Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act’ for acquisition of land in disputed area. A few months later, along with several writ petitions, Ismail Faruqui files plea at Allahabad HC challenging various aspects of the Act.
October 24, 1994: Supreme Court rules that mosque is not integral to Islam in the historic Ismail Faruqui case
August 2003: Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) files a report, which is the fifth on the historical topography of Ayodhya.
March 13, 2003: During its hearing in the Aslam alias Bhure case, Supreme Court says no religious activity of any nature be allowed at the acquired land.
March 14, 2003: Supreme Court orders interim order passed should be operative till disposal of the civil suits in Allahabad HC to maintain communal harmony.
September 30, 2010: Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority, rules three-way division of disputed area between Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
May 9, 2011: Supreme Court stays Allahabad High Court verdict on the land dispute in Ayodhya.
February 26, 2016: Subramanian Swamy files plea in the top court seeking construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site
March 21, 2017: Ex-Chief Justice of India JS Khehar moots out-of-court settlement among rival parties in the Babri Masjid-Ayodhya land dispute matter.
August 7, 2017: Supreme Court constitutes a three-judge bench to hear pleas challenging the 1994 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
August 8, 2017: Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board informs the apex court that a mosque could be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the disputed site.
September 11, 2017: Supreme Court directs Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court to nominate two additional district judges within ten days as observers to deal with the upkeep of the disputed site.
November 20, 2017: Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board informs the top court that the temple can be built in Ayodhya and mosque in the state capital Lucknow.
December 1, 2017: Thirty-two civil rights activists file plea challenging the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
February 8, 2018: Supreme Court begins hearing the civil appeals.
March 14, 2018: The top court rejects all interim pleas, including Swamy’s.
April 6, 2018: Rajeev Dhavan files plea in SC to refer the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement to a larger bench.
July 6, 2018: Uttar Pradesh government informs the apex court that some Muslim groups were trying to delay the hearing by seeking reconsideration of an observation in the 1994 verdict.
September 27, 2018: Supreme Court rules out referring the issue of reconsideration of its observation that mosque was not integral to Islam, to a larger bench
October 29, 2018: Major political slugfest begins as the Supreme Court defers the Ayodhya hearing to January 2019 citing that the issue was not a priority for it.