As of Friday, November 8, more than 5000 paramilitary force members and police have been deployed to the city of Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh state) ahead of a Supreme Court decision regarding a disputed religious site. Security restrictions, including a ban on gatherings of more than four people, remain in place. The impending verdict, set to be released on Saturday, November 9, will determine which religious community will retain control of the land where the Babri Masjid mosque once stood. Both Hindus and Muslims claim ownership of the land. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday appealed for calm ahead of the court's decision.
A heightened security presence and associated disruptions are anticipated in Ayodhya prior to and following the Supreme Court's verdict. All schools across Uttar Pradesh will remain closed until Monday, November 11. Violent clashes between religious communities cannot be ruled out.
The Babri Masjid mosque, built in 1528, is considered an important religious site by both Muslim and Hindu communities. The site is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram by Hindus, who claim that a temple existed on the site prior to the mosque's construction. In 1992, violent clashes broke out across India following the razing of the mosque by Hindu mobs, resulting in the deaths of approximately 2000 people. Hindu and Muslims groups have failed to resolve the dispute through negotiation and both have contested the 2010 Supreme Court decision to share the site.
Individuals in Ayodhya are advised to monitor the situation, avoid public gatherings, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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