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India on alert ahead of religious verdict

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India on alert ahead of religious verdict


India is bracing itself for the verdict in one of the most religiously divisive court cases in the country’s history.

Hundreds of thousands of police are on alert nationwide as judges decide whether a holy site belongs to Muslims or Hindus.

The government has put a national block on bulk mobile phone messaging to prevent the spread of rumours and incitement to violence.

The row centres on the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya in northern India. Hindus claim it is the birthplace of their God, Rama, and want to build a temple there.

In 1992, Hindu extremists demolished a mosque that had stood on the site since the 16th century.

The religious rioting that followed was among the worst ever witnessed in India and claimed some 2,000 lives.

A panel of three judges – two Hindus and one Muslim – will decide which faith has a legal claim to the land, although the eventual judgement is likely to be appealed.

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