Re­li­gious dis­pute ver­dict de­layed

Los Angeles Times - - The World - Mark Mag­nier re­port­ing from New Delhi

In a last-minute move, In­dia’s Supreme Court de­cided Thurs­day to de­lay a lower court’s ver­dict in a case be­tween Mus­lims and Hin­dus over who has the right to a con­tro­ver­sial re­li­gious site.

The ver­dict in the 60year-old case was due Fri­day but will now be put off un­til at least Tues­day.

At is­sue is who own the land where the 16th cen­tury Babri Masjid mosque stood. The mosque, in north­ern In­dia’s Ut­tar Pradesh state, was de­stroyed in late 1992 by a mob of Hindu ex­trem­ists.

Shortly af­ter the mosque in the town of Ay­o­d­hya was razed, re­li­gious vi­o­lence broke out across In­dia, killing 2,000. Since then, the in­ci­dent has be­come a ral­ly­ing cry for Mus­lims, in­clud­ing fun­da­men­tal­ists, in In­dia, a ma­jor­ity Hindu nation.

Many Hin­dus be­lieve the site was the birthplace of the god Ram and claim that a tem­ple in his name was de­stroyed 482 years ago to build the mosque. Ex­perts say the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal record is in­con­clu­sive.

The govern­ment has been brac­ing for the ver­dict for weeks, de­ploy­ing thou­sands of troops.

In de­lay­ing the Al­la­habad High Court ver­dict, the Supreme Court said it would hold a hear­ing Tues­day to give the Hindu and Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties a chance to set­tle out of court. mark.mag­nier @latimes.com An­shul Rana in The Times’ New Delhi Bureau con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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