Hundreds arrested ahead of verdict on Babri Mosque demolition verdict

Elias Hubbard
November 9, 2019

The Centre has also given order to deploy 40 companies - around 4,000 personnel - of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) or paramilitary force in Ayodhya that includes 16 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), around six companies each of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security (CISF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and RAF.

The site has been one of the country's most controversial religious grounds since the Babri mosque, which had been standing since the 16th century, was reduced to rubble by Hindu fundamentalists during a 1992 riot in which more than 2,000 people died.

Hindu groups say the site should be restored to Hindus in keeping with their sentiments while Muslims and secularists say the destruction of the mosque was a unsafe step towards empowering a violent nationalist mob.

Police and home ministry officials said government agencies were making preparations to thwart any violence.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs also sent an advisory to all states to remain alert.

"State governments have identified several schools to set up temporary jails if the need arises", said the official, who declined to be identified.

"We will not tolerate Hindus or Muslims publicly displaying their reaction to the court verdict", Singh said.

Most of the suspects were taken into custody while a further 70 people were detained over their social media posts, he said - warning the internet could be blocked in the region if required.

In the 1980s, as Hindu nationalism and the BJP began to strengthen, pressure grew for the mosque to be knocked down and replaced by a vast Hindu temple.

Ayodhya - considered one of the holiest Hindu sites - is visited by religious pilgrims from all over India throughout the year.

The long and complicated property dispute has been dragging on in various courts for more than a century. The apex court is expected to deliver its verdict on a dispute over the ownership of 2.77 acre of land in Ayodhya before November 17, when Chief Justice Gogoi retires.

The court ruled that the site should be split, with the Muslim community getting control of a third, Hindus another third and the Nirmohi Akhara sect the remainder. Control of the main disputed section, where the mosque once stood, was given to Hindus.

It affirmed the disputed spot was the birthplace of Lord Ram, that the Babri Masjid was built after the demolition of a Hindu temple, and that the mosque was not built in accordance with the tenets of Islam.

Both Hindu and Muslim groups appealed and the Supreme Court in 2011 stayed the lower court's ruling, leaving the issue unresolved.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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