India Tightens Security Restrictions Ahead Of SC’s Babri Mosque Ruling
NEW DELHI: Indian authorities have tightened security restrictions in the northern Indian flashpoint city of Ayodhya ahead of an important Supreme Court (SC) ruling over the disputed site that has been a bone of contention between Hindus and Muslims.
For decades, the Hindu and Muslim population of India has locked horns over the fate of the 16th century Babri mosque in Ayodhya, a city in Uttar Pradesh state.
The site became controversial when Hindu hardliners destroyed the mosque in 1992 which resulted in religious violence that killed 2,000 people.
India’s apex court is expected to conclude the hearing in connection with the case on October 17 into appeals against a key 2010 court ruling that both the religious groups should divide the site among themselves, with a majority share going to Hindus.
According to Ayodhya’s District Magistrate Anuj Jha, restrictions under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that prohibits more than four people from assembling were first imposed on August 31.
“The order has been issued considering safety and security of Ayodhya and those visiting here as the government’s primary concerns,” Jha tweeted late Sunday.
The new orders said that “drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, unknown flying objects or anything that can be weaponised are banned without prior permission from district authorities”.
In addition, the district also banned the use of firecrackers which are otherwise very popular during this time of the year when Hindus make preparations to celebrate major religious festivals, including one that celebrates Hindu deity Ram, who they believe was born in Ayodhya.
It merits mention here that the new orders would be put in place on December 10. The SC is also expected to hand down its ruling before the retirement of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on November 17.
Many Hindus believe that the medieval mosque that has stood on the site for 460 years was built on top of a destroyed temple.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party has also launched a campaign to construct a new temple on the site of the razed mosque.