NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute on Saturday at 10:30, settling an issue that has for decades been a religious and political flashpoint, reports said on Friday.

All schools, colleges, educational institutions and training centres will be closed from Saturday to Monday across Uttar Pradesh, which is ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Section 144 has also been imposed in the state and elsewhere.

A five-judge Supreme Court bench, comprising of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S A Bobde, Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice S Abdul Nazeer, will rule on appeals against the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court, which ordered a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres between the Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board and Ramlalla Virajman.

At the court in New Delhi, Rajeev Dhavan, the lawyer representing Muslim petitioners, said the opposition Hindu groups had no evidence to claim ownership of the disputed land.

Hindu and Muslim groups have failed to resolve the dispute through negotiations over the years, and a court decision in 2010 to divide the 2.77-acre (11,210-square metre) site between one Muslim group and two Hindu groups was opposed by both sides.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2019