New Delhi: The Ayodhya dispute has been an emotive issue for decades and mired in a slew of legal suits involving Hindu and Muslim religious groups.
Following is the history, chronology and timeline of the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid issue till the green signal given by the Supreme Court to the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday to deliver its verdict on the Ayodhya title suit.
1528 | A mosque is built on the site by Mughal emperor Babar which Hindus allege to be the birth place of Lord Ram and where a temple earlier existed.
1853 | First recorded incidents of communal violence at the disputed site take place.
1859 | British officials erect a fence to separate the places of worships, allowing the inner court to be used by Muslims and the outer court by Hindus.
1885 | Mahant Raghubir Das files a suit seeking permission to build a canopy on Ram chabootra but his plea was rejected a year after by the Faizabad district court.
1949 | Idol of Lord Ram surfaces inside mosque. Muslims claim that it was kept there by the Hindus. Muslims protest, and both parties file civil suits. The government proclaims the premises a disputed area and locks the gates.
January 18, 1950 | First title suit is filed by Gopal Singh Visharad asking for the right to worship the idols installed at ‘Asthan Janmabhoomi´. The court restrained the removal of idols and allowed the worship to continue.
April 24, 1950 | The State of Uttar Pradesh appealed against the injunction order.
1950 | Ramchandra Paramhans files another suit, but withdraws later.
1959 | Nirmohi Akhara enters the fray and files the third suit, seeking possession of the site, doing away with the court-appointed receiver. It claims itself to be the custodian of the spot at which Ram was supposedly born.
December 18, 1961 | UP Sunni Central Board of Waqfs moves in to claim possession of the mosque and adjoining land.
1986 | On a plea of Hari Shanker Dubey, a district judge directs Masjid gates to be unlocked to allow ‘darshan´. Muslims set up Babri Masjid Action Committee.
1989 | A fresh suit is filed by former VHP vice-president Deoki Nandan Agarwala in the name of Lord Ram for declaration of the title and possession in its favour at the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court.
October 23, 1989 | All the four suits, pending before a Faizabad court transferred to a special bench of the HC.
1989 | VHP lays foundations of a Ram temple on land adjacent to the disputed mosque.
1990 | VHP volunteers partially damage the mosque. Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar tries to resolve the dispute through negotiations, which fail the next year.
1991 | BJP comes to power in Ayodhya.
1992 | This was the turning point of the entire dispute when Babri mosque was torn down by supporters of the VHP, the Shiv Sena and the BJP, prompting nationwide communal riots between Hindus and Muslims in which more than 2,000 people die.
1998 | The BJP forms coalition government under Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
2001 | Tensions rise on the anniversary of the demolition of the mosque. VHP pledges again to build Hindu temple at the site.
January 2002 | Vajpayee sets up an Ayodhya cell in his office and appoints a senior official, Shatrughna Singh, to hold talks with Hindu and Muslim leaders.
February 2002 | BJP rules out committing itself to the construction of a temple in its election manifesto for UP assembly elections. VHP confirms deadline of 15 March to begin construction. Hundreds of volunteers converge on site. Meanwhile, in a supposedly related incident at least 58 people are killed in an attack on a train in Godhra which was carrying Hindu activists returning from Ayodhya.
March 2002 | Following the train attack, some 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, die in riots in Gujarat
April 2002 | Three High Court judges begin hearings on determining who owns the religious site.
January 2003 | Archaeologists begin a Allahabad high court-ordered survey to find out whether a temple to Lord Ram did exist on the site.
August 2003 | The ASI survey says there is evidence of a temple beneath the mosque, but Muslims dispute the findings. Vajpayee says at the funeral of Hindu activist Ramchandra Das Paramhans that he will fulfil the dying man’s wishes and build a temple at Ayodhya. However, he hopes the courts and negotiations will solve the issue.
September 2003 | A court rules that seven Hindu leaders should stand trial for inciting the destruction of the Babri Mosque, but no charges are brought against Advani, then deputy prime minister, who was also at the site in 1992.
31 August, 2003 | All India Muslim Personal Law Board announced it would challenge the ASI report.
November 2004 | in UP rules that an earlier order which exonerated Advani for his role in the destruction of the mosque should be reviewed.
July 2005 | Suspected Islamic militants attack the disputed site, using a jeep laden with explosives to blow a hole in the wall of the complex. Security forces kill five people they say are militants, and a sixth who was not immediately identified.
June 2009 | The Liberhan commission investigating events leading up to the mosque’s demolition submits its report - 17 years after it began its inquiry. Its contents are not made public.
July 2010 | Bench reserves its judgement and asks all parties to solve the issue amicably. But no one is keen.
8 September, 2010| The High Court announces verdict would be delivered on 24 September.
14 September, 2010 | A writ is filed to defer the judgement but is subsequently rejected by the high court.
28 September | Supreme Court rejects petition for deferment and gives the go-ahead to the Allahabad high court to deliver the judgement on the Ayodhya title issue. The high court chooses 30 September as verdict day.
With inputs from PTI and BBC