Preparation of Ram Temple Inauguration : The Ram Temple in Ayodhya is ready to be inaugurated, with the sacred ritual of Pran Pratishtha (installation of the deity) of Ram Lalla scheduled for January 22 between 12.15pm and 12.45pm.
The ceremony will be graced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will lead the event in the holy city. He will be accompanied by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, UP Governor Anandiben Patel, and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the president of the temple trust.
The event will also witness the presence of over 7,000 guests, including prominent personalities from the fields of sports, entertainment, and business, who have been invited to join the historic occasion.
The Construction of Babri Masjid by Babur’s General :
The most widely accepted account, as recorded in official documents, states that Mir Baqi, a commander of the Mughal emperor Babur, built a mosque on the site of a temple that he destroyed at Ramkot, where Lord Ram was believed to have been born, in Ayodhya.
The Origins of the Babri Masjid Dispute in British India :
The first instance of communal clashes over the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya took place in 1853, during the reign of Nawab Wajid Shah of Awadh. The Nirmohis, a Hindu group, claimed that a mosque had replaced a Hindu temple that was destroyed by Babur’s forces.
In 1859, the British authorities erected a barrier to divide the site into two parts. They allowed Muslims to worship inside the mosque, while Hindus could use the outer courtyard.
Mahant Raghubir Das, a Hindu priest, filed an application to the Faizabad district court in January 1885, asking for permission to build a shelter on the Ramchabutra, a platform outside the mosque. The court rejected his appeal.
Ram Temple to be inaugurated in Ayodhya on January 22 :
The historic moment of the Ram Temple’s inauguration is approaching, as the idol of Ram Lalla will be sanctified (Pran Pratishtha) on January 22 between 12.15pm and 12.45pm. The auspicious event will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will lead the ceremony in Ayodhya. He will be accompanied by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, UP Governor Anandiben Patel, and the temple trust’s president Mahant Nritya Gopal Das. The ceremony will also witness the presence of over 7,000 eminent guests from various fields such as cricket, entertainment and business.
Babri Masjid becomes a disputed site after Ram Lalla idols appear – 1949 :
A controversy erupted over the Babri Masjid when idols of Lord Ram were found inside the mosque. A devotee named Gopal Singh Visharad filed a plea in a Faizabad court to allow him to worship the idols. However, Hashim Ansari, a local Muslim, opposed the plea and demanded that the idols be removed and the mosque be restored. The government sealed the site but permitted the priests to offer daily prayers.
Muslims claim Babri Masjid as their property in court – 1961:
The Babri Masjid dispute took a legal turn when a Muslim petitioner filed a suit in Faizabad civil court seeking to reclaim the property from the Hindus. The Sunni Central Wakf Board also joined the suit and declared that the mosque belonged to the board.
Hindus and Muslims clash over Babri Masjid in Ayodhya – 1980s:
The Babri Masjid became a flashpoint of communal tension in the 1980s, as a Hindu group called the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) launched a campaign to build a Ram temple at the site, claiming it was the birthplace of Lord Ram. In 1986, a local court ordered the opening of the mosque for Hindu worship, following a petition by a Hindu devotee. This sparked protests from the Muslims, who formed the Babri Mosque Action Committee to oppose the move. The government of Rajiv Gandhi also allowed the Hindus to enter the mosque, which effectively turned it into a Hindu temple. The Muslims felt aggrieved by the violation of their religious rights and the dispute escalated into a major conflict.
Ram Temple construction begins near Babri Masjid amid legal battle – 1989:
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) started building a Ram temple on the land next to the Babri Masjid, claiming it was the sacred site of Ram Janmabhoomi. A former VHP Vice-President, Justice Deoki Nandan Agarwal, filed a lawsuit seeking the shifting of the mosque. The case was joined by four other suits in the Faizabad court, which were moved to a special bench of the High Court.
How LK Advani’s Rath Yatra for Ram Temple Ended in Arrest:
In 1990, the BJP launched a massive Rath Yatra, or chariot journey, from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, to demand the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site where the Babri Masjid stood. The yatra was led by the party’s president, LK Advani, who aimed to mobilize public support for the cause and challenge the ruling coalition of VP Singh.
The yatra, which started on September 25, 1990, attracted thousands of kar sevaks, or volunteers, from various Hindu nationalist groups. The chariot, modeled after the one used by Lord Ram, passed through several states and towns, where Advani addressed large crowds and urged them to join the movement. The yatra covered about 300 kilometers per day and was scheduled to reach Ayodhya on October 30, 1990.
However, the yatra met with stiff opposition from some state governments, especially Bihar, which was ruled by Lalu Prasad Yadav of the Janata Dal. Yadav, who had a secular and socialist ideology, vowed to stop the yatra from entering his state and provoking communal violence. On October 23, 1990, he got the approval of Prime Minister VP Singh to arrest Advani as he crossed the border from Uttar Pradesh to Bihar. Advani was taken into preventive detention and his yatra was halted, sparking protests and riots across the country.
The Day Babri Masjid Fell and India Burned :
On December 6, 1992, a historic mosque in Ayodhya, known as the Babri Masjid, was razed to the ground by a mob of Hindu extremists, who claimed that it was built on the birthplace of Lord Ram. The demolition was carried out under the watch of leaders from the Shiv Sena, VHP, and BJP, who had been campaigning for a Ram Temple at the site for years.
The act of vandalism sparked a wave of sectarian violence across India, as Muslims and Hindus clashed in several cities and towns. The death toll from the riots was estimated to be at least 2,000, with many more injured and displaced. The incident also strained the relations between India and its neighbors, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with the Muslim community.
The Spark that Ignited Gujarat’s Worst Communal Carnage: Godhra riots
On February 27, 2002, a train carrying Hindu pilgrims from Ayodhya to Gujarat was set on fire by a mob of Muslims near Godhra station. The attack killed 58 people, mostly women and children, who were returning from a ceremony at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi site. The incident triggered a wave of retaliatory violence by Hindu mobs against Muslims in Gujarat, which lasted for several weeks and left more than 1,000 dead and thousands injured and homeless. The Gujarat riots were widely condemned as a state-sponsored pogrom, as the BJP government led by Narendra Modi was accused of failing to protect the minority community and even abetting the perpetrators.
Hindu Remains Found Under Babri Masjid, Muslims Reject ASI Report :
In 2003, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conducted an excavation at the site where the Babri Masjid once stood, and claimed to have found traces of a large Hindu temple beneath the mosque. The ASI report, which was submitted to the Allahabad High Court, stated that the temple dated back to the 10th century and was dedicated to Lord Ram. The report also said that the mosque was built over the temple’s ruins in the 16th century by the Mughal emperor Babur.
However, the ASI report was challenged by several Muslim groups, who argued that it was biased and flawed. They accused the ASI of fabricating evidence and ignoring Islamic artifacts found at the site. They also questioned the credibility of the ASI, which was under the control of the BJP-led government at the time. The Muslim groups demanded an independent and impartial investigation of the site, and maintained that the Babri Masjid was a legitimate mosque that had no connection to Ram.
Ayodhya Land Dispute: Supreme Court Puts on Hold Allahabad HC’s Three-Way Split :
In 2011, the Supreme Court stayed the Allahabad High Court’s verdict that divided the disputed land in Ayodhya, where the Babri Masjid was demolished, into three equal parts among the three main parties involved in the case: the Nirmohi Akhara, a Hindu sect that claimed to be the caretaker of the site; Ram Lalla, the deity of Lord Ram, represented by the Hindu Mahasabha; and the Islamic Waqf Board, the custodian of the mosque. All three parties had appealed against the High Court’s decision, which was based on the assumption that the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram, and that the mosque was built after destroying a Hindu temple. The Supreme Court put the matter on hold, pending a final verdict on the ownership of the land.
Supreme Court Clears Way for Ram Temple at Ayodhya, Gives Alternate Land for Mosque :
In 2019, the Supreme Court delivered a historic verdict on the long-standing dispute over the land where the Babri Masjid was demolished in Ayodhya. The court ruled that the 2.77 acres of land should be handed over to a trust, to be set up by the Government of India, for the building of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple. The court also ordered the government to give an alternative five acres of land at a different site to the Sunni Waqf Board for the erection of a mosque
The verdict was given by a five-judge bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who retired shortly after the judgment on November 17. The other judges on the bench were Justice SA Bobde, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan, and Justice S Abdul Nazeer. The trust created for the building of the Ram temple was named Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Shetra. The trust consists of 15 members.
PM Modi Launches Ram Temple Construction with Bhoomi Pujan :
In 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the bhoomi pujan, or ground-breaking ceremony, for the building of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, where the Babri Masjid was demolished. The Prime Minister also revealed a plaque and issued a special postal stamp to mark the occasion.
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