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 Ram Janmabhoomi

Ram Janmabhoomi  refers to a tract of land in the North Indian city of Ayodhya which is claimed as the birthplace of Rama. It is believed that, prior to 1528, a temple stood at this site and that in 1528 the temple was demolished on the orders of Mughal invader Babur and a mosque was built on its ruins. This mosque came to be known as the Babri Masjid. A movement was launched in 1984 by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) eventually leading to the destruction of the building on the morning of December 6 1992 by  Hindu swyam sewak and Supporters activists. The VHP wants to erect a temple dedicated to Ram Lala (infant Ram) at this spot. Many Muslim organizations, on the other hand strongly oppose the building of the temple.

It was until about 1990 the standard view that an ancient Ram Janmabhoomi temple was demolished and replaced with the Babri Mosque. References such as the 1986 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica reported that "Rama’s birthplace is marked by a mosque, erected by the Moghul emperor Babar in 1528 on the site of an earlier temple".According to the Hindu view, the ancient temple could have been destroyed on the orders of Mughal emperor Babur. This view is challenged by Marxist historian and Indian historians since the early 1990s. However, several contemporary archaeologists such as Prof. B.B. Lal and Western historians, such as Koenraad Elst have provided historical evidence[citation needed that lends a greater legitimacy to the Hindu claims of the Ram Janmabhoomi. Elst has alleged that the counterclaims made by Muslims and 'mainstream' Indian historians are politically motivated rather than those having a scholarly legitimacy. He has also alleged 'open hostility' on the part of (predominantly J.N.U. - based) Indian History - academia to his scholarship.

History 19th century

Claims have been made that worship took place on a platform called "Ram Chabutara" prior to Independence. According to British sources, Hindus and Muslims used to worship together in the Disputed Structure in the 19th century until about 1855. P. Carnegy wrote in 1870.

"It is said that up to that time, the Hindus and Mohamedans alike used to worship in the mosquetemple. Since the British rule a railing has been put up to prevent dispute, within which, in the mosque the Mohamedans pray, while outside the fence the Hindus have raised a platform on which they make their offerings."

This platform was outside the disputed structure but within its precincts. Hindu protagonists say that they have been demanding the return of the site for centuries, and cite accounts from several western travellers to India during the Mughal rule in India.

Ram Janmabhoomi temple construction

The matter is under court investigation but this does not seem to deter the VHP in preparing for its grand construction and some models and basic stone work has already been completed channelled by different organisations including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad which gains substantial amount of cashflows from expatriate Hindu populations in the US and Europe. Various workshops in different parts of India are working continuously since Sept. 1990. Till 2001, about 45% of the work on Ground Floor was completed.

Chronology of events

  • In 1528, the Babri Masjid is constructed on the orders of the Mughal leader Babur post destruction of existing ram mandir.

  • In 1949, idols of Lord Ram appeared in the Babri Masjid. The semi-governmental Wakf Board, an Indian Muslim trust owned the land on which the mosque stood. Both Hindu and Muslim parties launch civil suits and the Indian government, declaring the site "disputed", locks the gates to the mosque.

  • In 1984, a movement is started for the creation of Ram Janmabhoomi temple by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, under the leadership of L K Advani.

  • In 1986, a district judge of Uttar Pradesh, orders the opening of the disputed structure to Hindus. This, allegedly, came from the Congress government which tried to balance the favour shown to the Muslims in Shah Bano controversy.

  • In 1989- 1990, the VHP intensifies its activities by laying foundations of the Ram temple on the adjacent property. Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar proposes negotiations which only intensify the crisis.

  • In 1992, on December 6, the Structure is forcibly demolished by Kar Sevaks.The then Narasimha Rao led Congress government let a makeshift temple appear in its place before moving the courts for status quo. The demolition of the mosque triggered large-scale rioting.

  • In 2005 Kashmiri terrorists attacked the Ram Mandir and were gunned down by security forces .

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