SC verdict on Ayodhya dispute coincides with foundation laying ceremony held by RSS, VHP 30 years ago

NEW DELHI: Thirty years ago on this day the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders performed 'shilanyas' ceremony and laid foundation for a proposed grand temple next to the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya.

November 9, 1989, marks the culmination of a decade-long campaign of VHP and RSS to build Ram temple at the disputed site, where Babri Masjid, built by Mughal emperor Babur, once stood tall. In 1992, the mosque was razed down by scores of volunteers in a bid to build a temple, the move which snowballed into a massive frenzy of communal riots across the country.

It assumes significance as the Supreme Court is slated to pronounce the order on the petitions challenging an order of Allahabad High Court which trifurcated the site between the parties -- Ramlalla Virajman, Sunni Central Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara.

The legal dispute over 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya which had, over the years, turned into both religious and political battles, dates back to the British era.

The Hindu parties had strong beliefs that the site marked the birthplace of Lord Ram and a temple stood beneath the central dome of the Babri Masjid.

The Muslims, on the other hand, countered the claims and asserted that a mere belief of site being a birthplace of Lord Ram does not confer its juristic personality.

The parties referred to various land documents, historians, archaeological surveys to substantiate the contentions.

In 1989, four suits filed against this in the civil court were transferred to the Allahabad High Court.

Subsequently, the High Court ordered the maintenance of the status quo at the site. In 2003, the Supreme Court had barred any religious activity at the site.

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