The Babri Masjid was built in 1528 in Ayodhya town of Uttar Pradesh by Mir Baqi, a commander of first Mughal emperor Babur. Remaining nondescript and undisputed for 325 years, the mosque invited first clash challenging its propriety in 1853 and has not turned back since – the great saga of the dispute continues.
Here is the dateline of Babri Masjid spanning about 500 years.
1528: Babri Masjid was built in Ayodhya by Mir Baqi, a commander of first Mughal emperor Babur.
1859: British rulers erect a fence and allow Muslims and Hindus to worship separately in the inner and outer courtyards.
1885: The dispute is dragged to court for the first time when Mahant Raghubar Das files a suit in a Faizabad court seeking permission to build a Ram temple adjoining the Babri mosque.
Dec 23, 1949: About 50 Hindus allegedly sneak in idols of Lord Ram in the mosque under the central dome. This leads to daily Hindu prayers at the site. Muslims stop offering namaz.
Jan 16, 1950: Gopal Singh Visharad files suit in Faizabad city court seeking exclusive rights to perform prayers for “Ram Lalla”. He also seeks judicial restraint on the removal of idols.
Dec 5, 1950: Mahant Paramahans Ramchandra Das files suit to continue with the Hindu prayers and keeping the Ram idols at the Babri mosque, which he calls a “structure”.
Dec 17, 1959: Nirmohi Akhara files suit seeking transfer of disputed site.
Dec 18, 1961: Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Board of Waqf files suit seeking possession of Babri mosque site.
1984: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) launches a campaign to open the locks of the Babri mosque so as to “liberate” the birthplace of Lord Ram and build a grand temple.
Feb 1, 1986: Faizabad district judge allows Hindus to worship at the site. Locks are opened. Angry Muslims set up Babri Mosque Action Committee in protest.
June 1989: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gives formal backing to the VHP, giving renewed life to the temple movement.
July 1, 1989: Fifth suit filed in the name of Bhagwan Ram Lalla Virajman.
Nov 9, 1989: The Rajiv Gandhi government permits ‘shilanyas’, or ground-breaking ceremony near the Babri mosque.
Sep 25, 1990: BJP president L.K. Advani launcheS Rath Yatra – from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, raising passions all over the country. Communal riots follow.
November 1990: Advani arrested in Samastipur in Bihar. The BJP withdraws support to Prime Minister V.P. Singh, whose government is propped by the Left and the BJP. V.P. Singh government is voted out, he resigns.
October 1991: Kalyan Singh government in Uttar Pradesh acquires 2.77 acres of land around Babri mosque.
Dec 6, 1992: Thousands massed at Ayodhya demolish the Babri mosque, triggering widespread communal riots. A makeshift Ram temple is hurriedly built. Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao vows to rebuild the mosque.
Dec 16, 1992: M.S. Liberhan Commission set up to probe the circumstances leading to the mosque razing.
January 2002: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee sets up an Ayodhya Cell in his office to talk to Hindu and Muslim leaders to resolve the dispute.
April 2002: Three high court judges begin hearings on determining who owns the Ayodhya site.
March-August 2003: Archaeological Survey of India excavates in Ayodhya on the directions of the Allahabad High Court. It claims to have found an evidence of a temple beneath the mosque. Muslims dispute the findings.
September 2003: A court rules that seven Hindu leaders should stand trial for inciting the mosque demolition.
October 2004: Advani reiterates the BJP’s “unwavering” commitment to building a temple at Ayodhya.
July 2005: Suspected Islamic militants attack the site, using a jeep packed with explosives. Security forces kill five attackers.
June 2009: The Liberhan Commission submits report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 17 years after its formation.
September 28, 2010: Supreme Court gives go-ahead for Allahabad High Court judgement on Sep 30, rejecting appeals for deferment.
September 30, 2010: Allahabad High Court accepts that the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram. The majority judgment of the three-judge bench orders for the division of the disputed land with one-third for the Sunni Waqf Board, one-third for the Nirmohi Akhara and one-third to the party that claims to represent the deity ‘Ram Lalla’.
May 09, 2011: The Supreme Court stays the Allahabad High Court’s September 30, 2010 verdict on the Ramjanmbhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.