Ayodhya braces for Babri Mosque’s verdict

Thousands of paramilitary police have been deployed around the Indian town of Ayodhya — the focus of a court ruling on a case of Babri Mosque on Thursday.

The High Court in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh will rule on who owns the site of the 16th century Babri mosque in Ayodhya, which was razed by Hindu fanatics in 1992.

The timing of the verdict is a major security headache for the government as it struggles with the Commonwealth Games that open in New Delhi on Sunday.

The government is extremely anxious about the potential for fresh violence after Thursday’s verdict and has issued public appeals for calm, as well as placing advertisements in newspapers urging respect for the rule of law.

The High Court was to have ruled last Friday but the Supreme Court deferred the decision, saying it wanted to give more time to resolve the dispute amicably.

“Security men, who were sent back to the barracks last week, have been recalled and deployed,” a senior police official said.

“There are around 40,000 security personnel deployed at strategic Ayodhya locations,” said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram took stock of security arrangements on Tuesday, with 32 sensitive locations identified across the country — four of them in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state.