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Wednesday Oct 16 2019

Babri Masjid land dispute: Indian Supreme Court reserves verdict

The Indian Supreme Court is expected to announce a verdict next month. File photo

NEW DELHI: The Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered an end to hearings in a long-running dispute between Hindus and Muslims over a place of worship, laying the ground for a verdict that could lead to further divisions.

Hindus believe that the site in the northern town of Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Ram and want a temple built on the ruins of Babri Masjid that was torn down by extremists in 1992, triggering riots across the country.

Muslims want the 16th century mosque be rebuilt and leaders from the two sides have been arguing over the matter for decades.

“Enough is enough,” Supreme Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said in a packed courtroom in New Delhi, sitting alongside four other judges.

“Hearing in this matter is going to be completed today,” he said.

Hindu groups tied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party have been agitating for a temple at the site.

Lawyers, journalists and a couple of saffron-robed Hindu monks jostled for space in the courtroom as both sides made their case over who the land should be given to, quoting historical information.

Gogoi is expected to announce a verdict next month, before his retirement.

Ahead of the court decision, local authorities banned gatherings of more than four people across Ayodhya town to prevent a trouble between majority Hindus and Muslims.