Ayodhya case verdict: There have been appeals for peace across India ahead of the Supreme Court order.
The Supreme Court will deliver its landmark verdict on the Ayodhya dispute at 10:30 am on Saturday, ending decades of uncertainty on the issue. The decision was taken by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in consultation with the four other judges deciding the case late this evening.
The five-judge constitution bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi had reserved the judgement on October 16 after a marathon hearing of 40 days. Earlier today, he had met top Uttar Pradesh officials to discuss law-and-order arrangements in this regard.
The other members of the bench are Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
There was no clarity on the date of the verdict until now, other than the fact that it would be delivered before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17. Justice SA Bobde, who will take over as the next Chief Justice, had called the Ayodhya case "one of the most important in the world".
Appeals for peace have come from Hindu and Muslim organisations and various political leaders ahead of the verdict. While the home ministry has asked all states to be on alert, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a three-hour review meeting with top police and administration officials in Lucknow last night.
The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered the closure of all schools, colleges, educational institutions and training centres in the state from Saturday to Monday. Yogi Adityanath has asked for two helicopters to be on standby, one in Lucknow and one in Ayodhya, to tackle any possible emergency.
The dispute over 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, claimed by both Hindus and Muslims, has dominated political discourse since the 1980s. In 1992, rightwing activists tore down the 16th century Babri mosque that they believed was built on the ruins of an ancient temple that marked the birthplace of the Lord Ram. In the riots that followed, more than 3,000 people were killed across the country.
In September 2010, the Allahabad High Court ruled a three-way division of the disputed land between the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla, the parties involved in the case. Displeased with the verdict, all three moved the Supreme Court.
While Hindu activists want a temple to be rebuilt on the site, Muslim groups claim that there is no evidence to conclusively establish that the Babri mosque was built on the ruins of a temple.
Ahead of the Ayodhya verdict, senior RSS and BJP leaders had held a meeting with prominent Muslim clerics and intellectuals at the residence of Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Delhi to stress that irrespective of the nature of the top court's ruling, there should neither be 'junooni jashn' (excessive celeberation) nor 'haar ka hungama' (brouhaha over defeat).
Former Union Minister Shahnawaz Hussain, who attended the meeting, said it was unanimously agreed that the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya will be acceptable to all.
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