The Babri Masjid was built in the early 16th century. For at least four centuries, the site was worshiped by both the communities- Hindus and Muslims. However, in 1822, an official of the Faizabad court first claimed that the mosques stood on the site of a temple.
As a result, the Nirmohi Akhara sect cited this statement in laying claim to the site later in the 19th century, leading to the first recorded incidents of religious violence at the site in 1855. In 1859, the British colonial administration set up a railing to separate the outer courtyard of the mosque to avoid disputes.
The status quo remained in place until 1949, when idols of Rama appeared inside the mosque, allegedly placed there by the volunteers of the Hindu Mahasabha. This instigated an uproar, with both parties filing civil suits laying claim to the land. The placement of the idols was seen as a desecration by the Muslim community. The site was declared to be in dispute, and the gates to the Masjid were locked.
On December 23, 1949, Gopal Singh Visharad, a devotee of ‘Ram Lalla’, filed a case in Faizabad court, claiming the ownership of the disputed land and to seek enforcement of the right to worship of Hindus at the disputed site. Following this, the government locked the site.
In the same year, Paramahansa Ramachandra Das had also filed the lawsuit for continuation of worship and keeping the idols under the central dome of the Babri Masjid. The plea was later withdrawn.
To know more, listen to the podcast...