Authorities in India have tightened security across the country ahead of a court ruling that will decide whether Hindus or Muslims own land around a disputed mosque, the demolition of which in the 1990s led to one of the country's worst riots since independence.Besides whatever legal and moral issues there may be, there are of course political issues as well that will cloud the issue, and will push a final decision off for years:
The verdict, aiming to resolve the dispute over the Babri Mosque in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya, will be announced on Thursday by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
India's Supreme Court cleared the way on Tuesday for the lower court to decide on the ownership of the Babri Mosque, over which the Hindus and Muslims have quarrelled for more than centuries.
Hindus say the mosque stood on the birthplace of their god-king Rama and was built only after the destruction of the longstanding Hindu temple by Muslim invaders in the 16th century.
The dispute flared up in 1992 after a Hindu mob destroyed the mosque and nearly 2,000 were killed in rioting between Hindus and Muslims across the country.[emphasis added]
Endorsing a pro-Hindu verdict will damage the secular party's links with the Muslim population, while a pro-Muslim verdict could lead to the political nightmare of ordering the eviction of Hindu groups from the site.One of the most intriguing aspects of this is how Muslim have been faced with being treated the way that Muslim conquerors have historically treated other nations. I doubt that there have been many countries that have fought back against Muslim encroachment with a violence equal to that of the proverbial Muslim street. But that is what is going to may a solution to the issue nearly impossible.
A decision against Hindus, who make up 80 per cent of India's population, would give political capital to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
But, any verdict will almost certainly be challenged in the Supreme Court, and a final decision could take years to emerge.
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