(Photo: Rapid Action Forces personnel patrol in Ayodhya, September 22, 2010/Adnan Abidi)
The Indian Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Allahabad High Court to delay a potentially explosive verdict on whether Hindus or Muslims own land around the Babri mosque in Ayodhya.
The Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday came after an appeal to the stay on the judgment, saying the matter could be settled out of court. The Supreme Court will meet on Sept. 28 to decide on the appeal and commentators said the date of the actual verdict by the high court — originally due on Friday — was now unclear.
The central government has been on alert for any fallout from the verdict, appealing for calm. It banned public meetings in the state and stopped all bulk mobile text messages since they could be used to spread rumours and plan riots.
A verdict in favour of the Hindus would force the government to uphold the verdict, making it unpopular with Muslims, a key vote bloc. A ruling for the Muslims would mean the government would have to push Hindu groups out of the site, a political minefield.