Here is what you need to know about the decades old Ayodhya dispute.

How it started

It is believed that in 1528, the Babri Masjid was built in Ayodhya by Mir Baqi, the commander of Mughal emperor Babur. According to Hindus, the site of construction was traditionally regarded to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama.

Dispute Begins

Because of this, statues of Ram were placed inside the mosque by Hindus in 1949. Thus began the dispute over the historical site. Rumors and uncertainty have added to the tension, as some say a Hindu temple was demolished in order for Babri Masjid to be built, and between 1528-1668 there is no mention of the mosque’s existence.

Babri Masjid Demolished

After a few years of dispute over the land and a couple of scuffles between Muslims and Hindus both inside and outside of court, the Babri Masjid was destroyed during a political rally turned riot in December 1992, which resulted in the deaths of 2000 people.

Allahabad High Court Hearing

The case was then presented in court in 1993 for the acquisition of the land by the opposing party; various petitions were written against the Acquisition of Certain Area At Ayodhya Act (as it was formally known), including one by Ismail Faruqui. The verdict of this case was finally ruled in September 2010 in a 2:1 majority, ruling for a three-way division of disputed area between Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board, and Nirmohi Akhara.

Indian Supreme Court Hearing

In May 2011, the Allahabad High Court verdict was stayed by the Supreme Court, and the case was started afresh in India’s top court. The Supreme Court began hearing civil appeals in 2018, and heard title dispute cases from August to October 2019.

Tensions As Well As Apprehensions Rise In Ayodhya

More than 500 people were arrested ahead of the Supreme Court ruling on the disputed site, while a further 70 people were detained over social media posts, which led to the first warning being issued on blocking internet in the region if required; services were indeed scrapped in one district for 24 hours, and close online and aerial surveillance also went into effect.

The Supreme Court’s Verdict

On November 9, 2019 the Indian Supreme Court came to a unanimous decision on the fate of the site, deciding that the land belonged to the government as per tax records and therefore, handed it over to a trust to build a Hindu temple there while allocating a separate 5 acre land to Sunni Waqf Board for the construction of a mosque.

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