In its latest order, the District Magistrate of Ayodhya in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has prohibited use of social media messages and posters on a widely contested land dispute case until 28 December.
An order of the district magistrate said, such actions could disturb the public order in the region. The magistrate had already imposed prohibitory orders in the district until 10 December.
At the centre of the dispute is a piece of land in the Ayodhya district of northern Uttar Pradesh, 1,100 km (700 miles) from New Delhi, which is claimed by certain Hindu and Muslim organisations. A mosque has existed at the site since 1528, which the Hindus believe was built on the exact birth-spot of Lord Ram. In 1949, some Hindus installed an idol of Ram inside the disputed structure, leading to its seizure by the authorities.
In 1989, both sides filed cases in the Allahabad High Court claiming the land, which was the beginning of a drawn-out judicial battle, considered to be the most vexed and sensitive since Independence in the country.
A Ram Temple at Ayodhya was the springboard, from where the present national ruling Bharatiya Janta Party had emerged as a major political force in India. Lal Krishna Advani, the then president of BJP, took out a two-month-long Ram Rath Yatra – a chariot rally in 1990 to campaign for erecting a temple on the site. BJP had made Ram Temple a major poll plank starting in 1991 and came to power in Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP in its poll manifesto during the 2014 parliamentary elections, which brought Narendra Modi to power, had promised to “explore all possibilities within the framework of the constitution” for the construction of the temple.
The apex court had referred the case to mediation in March 2019 to find an amicable solution but it did not yield any outcome, forcing it to adjudicate the issue once for all.