Ayodhya: How Rajiv Gandhi rekindled the Ram Janmabhoomi

It was December 6, 1992, when Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished which changed India's political scenerio forever. And almost 27 years later, the Supreme Court will deliver its verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute today. During, five-year term as prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi had faltered in most of his major initiatives.

On of which was the Rajiv Gandhi government allowing shilanyas at the site. The VHP laid the foundation of a Ram temple on land next to the Babri Masjid.

In April 1984, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) initiated a campaign to gather public support for Hindu access to the Babri Masjid and other structures that had been allegedly built over Hindu shrines. To raise public awareness, VHP planned nationwide rath yatras, the first of which took place in September–October 1984, from Sitamarhi to Ayodhya.

The campaign was temporarily suspended after assassination of Indira Gandhi, but revived in from 25 places on 23 October 1985. On 25 January 1986, a 28-year-old local lawyer Umesh Chandra Pandey, appealed to a court to remove the restrictions on Hindu worship in the Babri Masjid premises.Subsequently, the Rajiv Gandhi government ordered the locks on the Babri Masjid gates to be removed. Until then, a priest had been permitted to perform puja once a year for the idols installed there in 1949. Now, all Hindus were given access to what they consider the birthplace of Rama, the prince posthumously deified as an incarnation of Vishnu.

Years later, a five-judge Constitution Bench will pronounce its judgment on petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict that had divided the disputed 2.77-acre plot in Ayodhya among the Nirmohi Akhara, a religious denomination, the Sunni Central Waqf Board, and representatives of Ram Lalla, the child deity. Arguments in the case ended on October 16 after a marathon hearing of 40 days.

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