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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 February, 2003, 11:28 GMT
Hindus' Ayodhya march stopped
Indian soldier guards Hindu holy man in Delhi
Hindu hardliners want to build a temple in Ayodhya
Police in the Indian capital, Delhi, have stopped thousands of Hindu hardliners from marching on parliament.

Police blocked the procession, organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, or World Hindu Council), about a kilometre from the parliament building.

The march was in support of demands that Hindus be allowed to build a temple at a disputed site in the northern town of Ayodhya.

VHP activists pulled down a 16th century mosque at the site in 1992 - about 2,000 people died in the communal riots which followed.

The march comes at the end of a three-day meeting in Delhi, at which almost 8,000 Hindu nationalists have discussed the future of the site at Ayodhya.

Court ruling

Monday's march has been trouble-free, as promised by organisers.

We have given the government enough time
VHP leader AG Kishore
But VHP leaders have warned of a "fury raging within Hindus" over the Ayodhya issue.

India's Supreme Court has banned all religious activity at the site, in an effort to calm tensions.

On Friday, the governing BJP party asked the court to lift the ban.

But on Saturday, the court deferred a ruling until early March.

Temple plans

Hindu hardliners say the Babri mosque, destroyed in 1992, was built after a temple marking the birthplace of the Hindu God Ram was demolished.

"We should be allowed to build the temple," Acharya Giriraj Kishore, a VHP leader, told the marchers on Monday. "We have given the government enough time."

"We'll be launching a much stronger agitation next month."

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's government had pushed for an early hearing on whether to lift the ban because of pressure from Hindu hardline groups that form its support base.

Although the attempt failed, the opposition and Muslim groups criticised the government for seeking to bring forward the case.



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