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Indian Muslims to Appeal Holy Site Ruling

People stand on a bridge in Ayodhya, India, 02 Oct 2010

An Indian Muslim group is planning to challenge a court ruling that divided a contested holy site between Hindus and Muslims.

The court in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh state, decided that Hindus should control two-thirds of the disputed site in the northern city of Ayodhya, while Muslims should control the remaining one-third.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board said Saturday that it will appeal the verdict in India's Supreme Court.

The board said the ruling had a number of weaknesses. It said Muslims have an obligation to challenge the judgment, but said it would consider a compromise proposal to resolve the 60-year-long legal dispute.

In 1992, Hindu extremists burned down a 16th century mosque at the site, triggering riots that killed 2,000 people. The Hindus claimed the mosque was wrongly built on the birthplace of a Hindu deity.

The Lucknow court on September 30 agreed with Hindus that the site was the birthplace of Lord Rama, and said two Hindu groups should each control one-third of it.

Muslims had wanted to rebuild the mosque, but the court ruled Hindus could keep the area containing the ruins, where they already have built a makeshift temple.

India's government deployed more than 200,000 security personnel across the country to prevent sectarian violence following the ruling, but the response was calm.

About 80 percent of India's 1.1 billion people are Hindus, while Muslims represent about 13 percent of the population.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.