Indian court divides disputed holy site

September 30, 2010 12:00 am

, India, Sep 30 – A disputed Indian holy site in Ayodhya claimed by Muslims and Hindus is to be divided between the religious groups, a lawyer acting for one of the Hindu litigants told reporters on Thursday.

"In the majority verdict, two judges said the site would be divided in three parts," lawyer Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters outside the court where a three-judge bench delivered a verdict.

The process to divide the site would begin in three months, he said.

A third will go to Muslims, he said, a second part would become a temple for Hindus who claim the spot as the birthplace of their god Lord Ram, while another third would go to a Ayodhya-based Hindu religious organisation.

He said the court had upheld the Hindus\’ contention that the site was the birthplace of Ram.

In 1992 the demolition of a 16th-century mosque on the site by Hindu activists sparked riots that killed more than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, and propelled India\’s Hindu nationalists into the political mainstream.

Ever since the destruction of the mosque 18 years ago the site has been cordoned off with barbed wire and steel fencing and guarded by troops.

A total of 200,000 police and paramilitary forces patrolled the streets of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, with tens of thousands on special duty in other areas around the country that are vulnerable to religious clashes.

The full verdict of the bench hearing the case has not yet been released to the public.


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