Religious groups have been fighting for their right over the Ram JanmabhoomiBabri Masjid site in Ayodhya. The conflict began in 1949 when idols of Lord Ram were allegedly found in the mosque, following which the government declared the premises a disputed area and locked it up. The conflict turned violent on December 6, 1992, when the mosque was demolished by Hindu Kar Sevaks, which led to communal riots across the country, killing at least 2,000 people.
Those involved in the demolition of the mosque allege that it was built by modifying or destroying a Hindu temple that previously stood on the same plot of land. They based their allegation on the findings of the Archaeological Survey of India, which suggested that the site contained the remnants of a 10thcentury temple beneath the Babri Mosque.
A case was filed in the Allahabad High Court, which gave its verdict on September 30, 2010. The court ordered that the land be equally divided among the three parties that were fighting for the siteRam Lalla, represented by the Hindu Maha Sabha; Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara. While the threejudge bench was not unanimous that the mosque was constructed after the demolition of a temple, it did agree that a temple or a temple structure existed below the mosque at the same site.
Unhappy with the verdict, the Sunni Wakf Board moved the Supreme Court. In its petition, the Board said that the verdict was based on faith and that was not acceptable. The apex court asked the parties to explore an outofcourt settlement.
The Babri Masjid Action Committee refused to settle the issue externally, pointing out that political bias may influence the settlement in favour of the other groups that were fighting for the land. On July 20, 2018, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict on the question of reference to a larger Bench. On October 29, the court postponed the hearing to January 2019, stating that the issue was not a priority for it.
Meanwhile, on July 23, 2018, the Supreme Court received a petition from a resident of Ayodhya, Vineet Kumar Maurya, who appealed the apex court to direct the government to declare the disputed land in question as Ayodhya Buddha Vihar under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
On March 8, 2019, the Supreme Court referred the AyodhyaBabri Masjid case for mediation to a threemember panel. The mediation process will commence within a week and will end in eight weeks.