The first recorded incident of violence over the issue between Hindus and Muslims in modern times took place in 1853 during the reign of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh. A Hindu sect called the Nirmohis claimed the structure, contending that the mosque stood on the spot where a temple had been destroyed during Babar's time. Violence erupted from time to time over the issue in the next two years and the civil administration had to step in, refusing permission to build a temple or to use it as a place of worship. According to the District Gazetteer Faizabad 1905, "up to this time (1855), both the Hindus and Muslims used to worship in the same building. But since the Mutiny (1857), an outer enclosure has been put up in front of the Masjid and the Hindus forbidden access to the inner yard, make the offerings on a platform (chabootra), which they have raised in the outer one."
Efforts in 1883 to construct a temple on this chabootra were halted by the Deputy Commissioner who prohibited it on 19 January 1885. Raghubir Das, a mahant, filed a suit before the Faizabad Sub-Judge. Pandit Harikishan was seeking permission to construct a temple on this chabootra measuring 17 ft. x 21 ft., but the suit was dismissed. An appeal was filed before the Faizabad District Judge, Colonel J.E.A. Chambiar who, after an inspection of spot on 17 March 1886, dismissed the appeal. A Second Appeal was filed on 25 May 1886, before the Judicial Commissioner of Awadh, W. Young, who also dismissed the appeal. With this, the first round of legal battles fought by the Hindus came to an end.
The Faizabad District Judge on a complaint filed by Mahant Raghubar Das gave a judgment on 18 March 1886. Though the complaint was dismissed, the judgment brought out two relevant points:
"I found that Masjid built by Emperor Babur stands on the border of the town of Ayodhya. It is most unfortunate that Masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as that event occurred...
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