On Tuesday, the country witnessed the 24th anniversary of one of the worst flashpoints of the Hindu-Muslim conflict in the nation — Babri Masjid demolition. While a few Hindu groups observe this day as Shaurya Diwas, several sections of the society call it a ‘Black Day’, which many say, tarred the secular fabric of the country forever. It was on this day 23 years ago that hundreds of karsevaks brought down the 16th century mosque in Ayodhya amid claims that it was the birthplace of the Hindu deity Lord Rama and the mosque was built on the holy land of Hindus.
The Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) on Tuesday said it would observe the anniversary of Babri mosque demolition by giving a memorandum to district magistrates concerned demanding punishment for the guilty. “On December 6 the memorandum will be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav through district magistrates concerned demanding from them to expedite cases related to the Babri mosque demolition,” BMAC convener Zafaryab Jilani told news agency PTI.
Built in 1528, the mosque was constructed in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad district by Mir Baqi on the orders of the Mughal emperor Babur. Hindu groups claim that in order to build the mosque, a structure marking the birthplace of Lord Rama was destroyed.
Centuries later, it is alleged that in 1949 a group of people planted idols of Lord Rama inside the mosque. In the late 1980s, Hindu nationalist organisations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) campaigned for building a temple at the site. The then-BJP president Lal Krishna Advani spearheaded the movement and led the Ram Rath Yatra which culminated into the demolition of the mosque by thousands of karsevaks on December 6, 1992. The event triggered several Hindu-Muslim riots across the country killing over 2,000 people.
A commission had been set up to investigate the events leading up to the mosque’s demolition. The Liberhan Commission submitted its report in 2009 — 17 years after it began its inquiry — concluding that several BJP leaders had a role in the incident.
A year later, the Allahabad High Court ordered that the site be split in three parts. The Muslim community getting control of a third, Hindus another third and the Nirmohi Akhara got the remaining. However, the decision didn’t resonate with a section of people since the control of the main disputed section, where the mosque was torn down, was given to Hindus. In 2011, the Supreme Court suspended the High Court ruling after Hindu and Muslim groups appealed against the 2010 verdict.
BMAC convener Jilani said on Tuesday, “The Centre will be asked to move an application in the Supreme Court for early hearing of appeals to decide land ownership of the site in Ayodhya.”