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Thursday, 14 March, 2002, 16:53 GMT
Ayodhya flashpoint
Hindu holy men campaigning in Delhi for the construction of a temple at Ayodhya
Hindu holy men campaigning for the construction of a temple at Ayodhya
To Hindus, Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Rama where hardliners plan to erect a temple. Muslims know it as the site of a 16th century mosque burnt down by Hindu extremists in 1992. The dispute is blamed in part for the recent violence in Gujurat which left hundreds dead. BBC News Online looks at one of the most divisive issues in India today.

Mass arrests help prevent trouble
15 March 2002
Hindu demonstrators in Bombay
Hindu activists demonstrate in Bombay where thousands of people were arrested to prevent intercommunal violence.

Several thousand Hindu hardliners took part in a peaceful march and ceremony at Ayodhya. But security forces made sure that the crowds were not allowed in the disputed area from which all religious activity was barred by a Supreme Court order on Wednesday. Earlier in the day tens of thousands of people were arrested across India to forestall any violence.

 The BBC's Jill McGivering reports

Security tightened at Ayodhya
14 March 2002
Indian security forces
There are more than 10,000 soldiers in Ayodhya

Indian security forces fear Hindu hardliners will press ahead with a prayer ceremony at Ayodhya on Friday despite a Supreme Court ban. More than ten thousand troops have been deployed around the town in case of trouble.

 The BBC's Jill McGivering reports

Supreme Court bans prayers at Ayodhya 13 March 2002
Indian soldiers patrol the streets of Ayodhya.
A ban on religious ceremonies at Ayodhya was imposed several years ago.

India's Supreme court rules against Hindu nationalists who want to hold a controversial prayer ceremony in the northern town of Ayodhya. Muslims have opposed the ceremony, fearing it would pave the way for the building of a temple on the site of the mosque destoyed by Hindu extremists in 1992.

 The BBC's Fiona Werge reports

Hundreds die in sectarian violence
4 March 2002
A burning warehouse in Ahmedabad
A burning warehouse in Ahmedabad

Hundreds of Indian Moslems were killed in a series of revenge attacks following the massacre of Hindus in Gujurat. A total of more than 700 people have been killed in India's worst religious violence for a decade.

 The BBC's Matt Frei reports

Hindu pilgrims massacred
27 February 2002
The burned out train
Stone-throwers forced the train to stop and set it alight

At least 57 people died when a furious mob set fire to a train carrying Hindu pilgrims. The Hindus were travelling through the Indian state of Gujurat, having visited the disputed holy site of Ayodhya. Police blamed Muslims for the attack and imposed a curfew in the area.

 The BBC's Jill McGivering reports

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