Updated: Aug 26
On December 6 1992, loud screams “mandir yahin banega” were heard as Kar-sevaks breached the barricades to babri masjid. The saffron clad kar-sevaks climbing on top of the mosque and beating it with scoops, iron bars, pickaxes and anything they could lay their hands on. In some hours, the 400yrs old mosque was demolished when the last dome fell at 4:55pm. The air around the demolished mosque was red and dusty. The kar-sevaks attacked the journalists and photographers tried to break their cameras for any sort of proof against them. Around 2000 people were killed in this riot and it is believed that 1993 terror attack on Bombay was due to the demolition of mosque.
Mir Baqi, commander of the first Mughal Emperor of India, Babur, built the mosque in 1528. According to Hindu beliefs, a Hindu temple was demolished on which the mosque was constructed, later known as Babri Masjid. However, Muslims claimed that the land was given to them and Mir Baqi constructed the mosque on a vacant land.
The battle for Mandir-Masjid is going on since the time Babur built the mosque on that land which Hindus believed it to be the janamsthan of Ram ji, seventh incarnation of Vishnu.
In 1949, an idol of Ram Lalla (infant ram) appeared under the central dome of the masjid. The Muslim side asserted that this was the handiworks of Hindus while the Hindus desired to worship the idols. Communal rights broke all over the country and the administration locked the gates of the disputed site.
In 1950, Gopal Singh Visharad of the Hindu Maha Sabha and Ramchandra Das filed a suit at Faridabad court for the permission to worship the idols. They claimed to have a right on the disputed area. In 1959, Nirmohi Akhara, a group of Hindu ascetics who are devotees of none other than Lord Ram filed a plea seeking possession of the disputed area. In 1961, Central Sunni Waqfs Board files declaration of the title of the disputed area and requested for the removal of idols from the mosque. In 1986, the Faridabad court allowed the Hindus only to offer prayers at the disputed site.
The Sunni Waqfs Board claimed that there was no Hindu temple on that site and Babur built the mosque on a vacant land whereas Hindu believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama.
In 1989, the Allahabad High Court took over the disputed title and ordered the parties to present evidences regarding the land.
JUDICIAL EVIDENCE BEFORE INDEPENDENCE
In 1858, Syed Md. Khateeb, superintendent of Babri Masjid filed an FIR against 25 Nihang Sikhs who entered the Masjid and started conducting hawans and pujas. The Sikhs started writing ‘ram’ ‘ram’ with charcoal on the walls of masjid. The superintendent of masjid didn’t referred the place as Babri Masjid, but as Masjid-e-janamsthan. No other mosque in India referred as janamsthan. The records of the cases filed is present at Faridabad Court.
On 5th November, 1860 an application was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner for the removal of ‘ramchabutra’ which had been constructed within Babri Masjid. The application stated that Azzan of the mozzain was met with the blowing of conch shells by hindus. Eventually the Hindus were evicted from the site.
Mohd. Asghar filed a suit against Raghubar Das claiming rent for the use of chabutra and takht near the entrance of Masjid for organizing Kartik Mela on Ramnavami. The Faizabad judge dismissed the suit against the suit on 18th, 1883.
In 1885, complaint was filed by the superintendent of Masjid-e-janamsthan against Mahant Raghubar Das for affixation of Charan Paduka near chabutra and for constructing a small temple near it. The construction of temple was stopped.
In 1887, another door was allowed to open by the administration. The Deputy Commissioner declined the complaint against the opening of the wall of janamsthan.
In 1934, a group of people attacked masjid and inflicted serious damage to the masjid. The documentary evidence of the record shows that the colonial administration approved for the work of repair and renovation of the mosque and imposed a fine on Hindus for destruction of the mosque.
Until the time of independence there are so many cases filled in Faizabad District Court for the masjid against each other.
William Foster edited a book “Early travels in India” (1583-1619) which contains narrations of seven Englishmen who travelled to India. Among them was William Flinch who arrived in India on August 1608 and visited Ayodhya between 1608-1611 and he did not find any building which is of great importance to Islamic religion.
In 1740, Joseph Tieffenthanler visited India, wrote in his travel journal ―Description Historiqueet Geographique Del‘inde in Latin. Tieffenthaler‘s account was relied on by various Hindu parties as it emphasizes on the account sets out the conviction of the Hindus that Lord Ram was conceived at the site, the symbol of it being a “bedi” or cradle. The account refers to “swargdwar and sita rasoi” where Hindus worshiped. The record contains a reference to the supposed destruction by Aurangzeb of the fort called “Ramkot” and construction of mosque with three domes. He also mentions that according to some Babur constructed the mosque.
Edward Thornton‘s Gazetteer titled ―Gazetteer of the territories under the Government of East India Company and the Native States on the Continent of India first published in 1858. It contains a reference to an extensive foundation called Hanumangurh, or Fort of Hanuman with annual revenue of 50,000 settled on it by Shuja-ud-daulah, formerly Nawaub Vizier. The revenues collected were distributed to about 500 bairagis or religious ascetics and other Hindus. No Mussulmans were being permitted within the walls.
P Carnegy as Officiating Commissioner and Settlement Officer has in ―A Historical Sketch of Faizabad (1870) underscored the significance of Ayodhya to the faith of Hindus, with a reference to the Janamsthan, Swarga Dwar Mandir and Treta-Ke-Thakur. The construction of the mosque to Babur in 1528 A.D. and notes that many of the Kasauti stone columns of an erstwhile temple have been used to build the mosque. Carnegy adverted to the riots which occurred in 1855 between the Hindus and Muslims and the resultant death of 75 Muslims who were buried in the graveyard next to the disputed site.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA REPORT
The High Court of Allahabad directed the archaeologists not to disturb the area where the idol of Lord Ram was installed and an area around the idol to the extent of 10 feet. The ASI group was coordinated to keep up a record of the depth of the trenches where the artefacts were found as well as the layer of the strata. Photographs of the findings were allowed to be taken. The High Court ensured adequate representation of both the communities should be maintained with respect to the ASI team and their labourers. ASI was ordered that every bit of excavation will be carried out in front of both the parties and those should be recorded in a file and should be signed by both the parties.
ASI stated the area has never been used for habitational purpose, it was always an sacred site with sacred structure. The use of land dates to 2nd millennium B.C. The ASI reports states that a temple was built in 10th century, which was short, lived and along with it, they found a circular shrine with a circular exterior with an entrance from the east. ASI has concluded that the northern wall of the shrine contains a pranala, i.e. a water chute, which it opined to be a distinctive feature of temples in the plains of the Ganges – Yamuna. ASI found absolute remains of a grand temple built in 12th century, which lived up to 16th century.
Excavations showed that Babri Masjid has no foundation of its own. It was built on the foundation of temple. ASI completely disapproved that the masjid was built on a vacant land.
K.K. Muhammed, former Director, ASI
K.K. Muhammed was one of members of the archaeologists who carried out excavations at the disputed site in 1977. He was the only Muslim who was the part of the first excavation. He on an interview stated that there are enough archaeological evidences to say that the Babri Masjid was built on the remains of temple. In fact, a huge structured temple.
The 12 pillars of the mosque were made from the remains of the temple. the pillars belonged to the 12th century as you get 'Purna Kalasha' at the base. It is the structure of a ‘ghadha’ from which foliage will come out. It is known as ‘Astha-mangala-chinha’ which a symbol of prosperity in Hinduism. The Quwwatul Islam mosque is made from the spoils of 27 temples and ‘Astha-mangala-chinha’ is present there. K.K Muhammed said, “This is as important for Hindus as Mecca and Medina for Muslims. Therefore, Muslims should willingly hand it over to Hindus.
During the second excavation which was carried out in 2003 according to the directions of the Allahabad High Court. At that point, the mosque had been destroyed. Prior to the excavation, a ground penetrating radar (GPR) study was conducted. It found that there were a few structures underneath the ground. . Many anomalies were reported.
While conducting the excavation more than 50 pillar bases in 17 rows were uncovered. It implies that the structure was imposing and huge. The structure discovered was a temple, which dated back to 12th century A.D.
They also got a temple pranala, having a crocodile face, which signifies river Ganga. On top of the temple just below the kalasha another structure was excavated, amalka, represents a lotus, and thus the symbolic seat for the deity. 263 pieces of terracotta objects of various gods and goddesses, human figures were excavated.
SUPREME COURT VERDICT
The five judge constitution bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi in a unanimous verdict, the court said that report by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) provided evidence that the remaining parts of a structure "that was not Islamic" was underneath the structure of the demolished Babri Masjid.
The court said that, given all the evidence presented, it had determined that the disputed land of 2.77 acres should be passed to Hindus for constructing the temple for Lord Rama, while Muslims would be given 5 acres of land elsewhere to construct a mosque.
It then directed the federal government to set up a trust to manage and oversee the construction of the temple.
However, the court added that the demolition of the Babri mosque was against the rule of law.