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Century old Ayodhya dispute now a history

Century old Ayodhya dispute now a history

By Manoj Bhadra
Ayodhya, Aug 4 (UNI) The century old Ayodhya land dispute would be put on a back burner and will turn into a history from August 5 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the grand Ram temple here.

Ram temple movement proves that how an issue of civil dispute over a piece of land gradually became one of the most defining aspects of politics in contemporary India.

But everything has been put in rest after the Supreme Court ruling on November 9, 2019 that the disputed land at Ayodhya be given to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, curtains were drawn on a 70-year legal battle in independent India and 90 years during the British rule.
One of the longest-drawn legal battles in the nation’s history, the Ayodhya issue has created political turmoil in the country starting from mid 1980s after Rajiv Gandhi government ordered to open the lock of the Ramjanambhoomi.
Babri Masjid was built by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur in 1528 but the controversy kicked off 150 years later during the British regime when in 1857, the year of India’s first struggle of Independence against the British Raj.
Following is the chronology of the Ayodhya dispute:
1857: It was the year of India’s first struggle for independence against the British Raj. However, the seeds of another controversy were sown quietly some 130 km from Lucknow in Faizabad district. The temple town of Ayodhya fell under this district. A petition was submitted before the magistrate of Faizabad by Maulvi Muhammad Asghar, the muezzin of Babri Masjid, alleging that the eastern part of the courtyard of the mosque had been forcibly taken over by the Mahant of Hanuman Garhi.
Hanuman Garhi was an important centre of religious life in Ayodhya, especially for Vaishnav Bairagis. The complaint by the muezzin marked the beginning of a legal dispute over the place. However, it was still several years before the land on which the mosque stood was to be officially declared as “disputed land.”
1859: The British government made its first intervention in the matter, while hearing the petition filed in 1857 and keeping in mind the regional conflict. The administration got a wall built that separated the places of worship for Muslims and Hindus. The Hindus got entry to the courtyard through the east gate, while the Muslims had access to the mosque from the northern side.
1860-1884: During this period, the Muslim side filed similar petitions like it did in 1857 and complained about the increasing interference of some local seers and sadhus and illegal occupation of land. These petitions were made in 1860, 1877, 1883 and 1884. All of them were rejected.
1885: The first legal representation was made by someone from the Hindu side. Mahant Raghubar Das filed a suit to gain legal title to the land and for permission to construct a temple on the ‘chabutara’ (raised platform) in the eastern courtyard. The petitioner claimed himself to be the mahant of the ‘janmasthan’ (birthplace) of Lord Ram and said the ‘chabutara’ was the Lord’s birthplace.
Hence, according to this first representation, the 'chabutara' and not the land where the actual mosque stood, was claimed to be Ram’s birthplace.
1886: The suit filed by Das was dismissed. However, rulers of the day had started seeing it as a Hindu-Muslim controversy of significant proportion.
1870-1923: As the dispute spread further, several official publications of the time started taking note of it. It was even mentioned in some of the gazettes published at the time. A stone marker reading “No 1 Ram Janmahoomi” was placed at the main entrance of the mosque.
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