India's top court rejects pleas for review of Ayodhya verdict

December 12, 2019

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A view of India's Supreme Court building. — AFP/File
A view of India's Supreme Court building. — AFP/File

India's Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed 18 petitions seeking a review of its recent ruling in favour of the building of a Hindu temple on a disputed site in northern India where a 16th-century mosque was torn down by Hindu hardliners in 1992.

The petitioners, representing the Muslim litigants, had said they were aggrieved by the court's decision and sought reconsideration of the verdict.

The November ruling was seen as a major victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which has promised to build a Hindu temple at the demolished site as part of its election strategy for decades.

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The court said Muslims would be given five acres (two hectares) of land at an alternative site.

The dispute over the site of the Babri Masjid in the town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh state has lasted more than a century. Hindus believe Lord Ram, the warrior god, was born at the site and that Mughal Muslim rulers built a mosque on top of a temple there.

A December 1992 riot following the destruction of the mosque sparked communal violence in which about 2,000 people were killed, mostly Muslims.