The Indian Supreme Court issued a verdict on the disputed the land where the Babri Masjid mosque once stood in Ayodha (Uttar Pradesh state) around 11:00 (local time) on Saturday, November 9. Under the verdict, a Hindu temple will be constructed on the disputed land while an alternative site will be allocated for the Muslim community. According to the court, the mosque was not built on vacant land and there is clear evidence that Hindus worshipped there before the construction of the mosque.
Associated protests by the Hindu or Muslim communities are possible in the coming hours and days in various parts of India. Police in Mumbai have banned all unlawful assemblies from 11:00 on Saturday until 11:00 on Sunday, November 10. Similar measures have also been announced in Delhi. Thousands of additional security forces have been deployed around the Supreme Court and in Ayodha. 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, and India more generally, are advised to monitor the situation, avoid public gatherings, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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