The Babri Masjid demolition case has once again shot into prominence after the trial of criminal conspiracy charge has been started against senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murali Manhohar Joshi, Union Minister Uma Bharti, founder-president of Bajrang Dal Vinay Katiyar, and others.
All the accused were granted bail by the Special Central Bureau of Investigation (SBI) Court in Lucknow. However, the court rejected the discharge petition and said charges would be framed against them.
The mosque was demolished by Hindu Karsevaks on December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya. The country witnessed massive riots in which over 2000 people were killed.
Two FIRs were filed after the disputed structure was demolished- Crime no. 197 deals with actual "demolition of the mosque by karsevaks." Crime no. 198 named L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and others for 'communal' speeches before the demolition.
The Hindus claim that it is the birthplace of Lord Rama where a mosque was built in 1528-29 CE (935 AH) by Mir Baqi. Since the mosque was built on orders of the Mughal emperor Babur, it was named Babri Masjid.
Before it was demolished in 1992, the Nirmohi Akhara had forcefully occupied the Babri Masjid in 1853 saying it was Ram Janmabhoomi (Birth place of Lord Rama).
Here is the epitome of Babri Masjid- Ram Janmabhoomi Dispute:
1853: Members of Nirmohi Akhara occupied the site, and claimed ownership of the structure. Communal riots erupted and lasted for two years.
1855: To avoid dispute, a boundary wall is constructed to divide the mosque premises into two courtyards; the Muslims offered prayers in the inner courtyard. The Hindus offered their prayers on a raised platform, known as "Ram Chabutara", in the outer courtyard. The Chabutra is a raised platform 17 ft x 21 ft about a 100 paces away from the mosque proper."
1885: Priest of the Ram Chabutara Mahant Raghubar Das files a title suit in a Faizabad court; seeks permission to build Ram Temple on the Chabutra on the outer courtyard of the Babri Masjid.
1934: Walls around the Masjid and one the domes are damaged in the communal riots. The British help in the reconstruction.
1946: A branch of the Hindu Mahasabha called Akhil Bharatiya Ramayana Mahasabha (ABRM) start an agitation for the occupation of the site.
1949: The government declares the mosque a disputed area and locked its gates after the idols of Rama and Sita are placed surreptitiously under the central dome.
1950: On 16 January, Gopal Singh Visharad files a civil suit in the Faizabad Court, asking that Hindus be allowed to worship Rama and Sita at the place. Paramahansa Ramachandra Das files a suit for continuation of pooja and keeping idols in the structure.
1959: The Nirmohi Akhara files another lawsuit demanding possession of the mosque.
1961: The Sunni Central Waqf Board also files a lawsuit, demanding possession of the site and removal of idols from the mosque premises.
1984: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) launches an enormous movement for the opening of the locks of the mosque
1986: District judge orders locks be removed. Site opened for Hindu worshippers. A Babri Masjid Action Committee is created as Muslims protest the move to grant Hindu prayers at the site.
1989: In February, VHP declares that a stone will be established for construction of temple near the area. Communal tension in the region gets worse. The four suits pending were transferred to the High Court.
1991: The Uttar Pradesh Government acquires 2.77 acre land in the area and gives it on lease to Ram Janm Bhoomi Nyas Trust. The Allahabad High Court stops all permanent construction activity in the area.
1992: On 6 December, Babri Masjid was demolished by a frenzied mob of karsevaks.
1993: The Government takes over 67 acres of land around the area, seeks Supreme Court's opinion on whether there existed a Hindu place of worship before the structure was built.
1993: In October, the CBI files a composite charge sheet and accuses Advani and other leaders of 'conspiracy'
1994: Case goes back to Lucknow Bench of HC, suits heard again from 1996.
2001: On 4 May, Special Judge S. K. Shukla drops conspiracy charge against 13 accused, including senior BJP leaders Advani and Kalyan Singh.
May 20, 2010: Advani, others absolved of conspiracy charges.
2010: On 30 September, Allahabad HC awards two-thirds of Ayodhya site to Hindu parties, one-third to Waqf Board.
2011: In February, CBI moves Supreme Court. Argues that "the actual demolition of the Babri Masjid and the continuous assault on media persons form a single connected transaction and can well be a concerted conspiracy".
2011: On 9 May, Supreme Court stays Allahabad High Court verdict on Ayodhya dispute.
March 6, 2017: On 6 March, the Supreme Court indicates it may revive conspiracy charge and order a joint trial of crimes 197 and 198.
2017: On 21 March, Chief Justice of India J. S. Kehar advised the rival parties to initiate an out-of-court peace negotiations and offered mediation.
2017: On 19 April, the Supreme Court revived conspiracy charges against L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and 13 others in Babri Masjid demolition cases.
2017: On 30 May, BJP veterans L. K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and other accused are granted bail by a special CBI court in Lucknow. However, the court rejected the discharge petition and said charges would be framed against them.