India's Supreme Court on Thursday postponed a lower court ruling on a contested holy site, delaying a decision the government worries could set off a repeat of sectarian violence.
A court in Uttar Pradesh state was set to rule Friday on the future of the disputed Ayodhya mosque site.
The Hindu and Muslim communities both want to build on the site, and the Supreme Court agreed to give them more time to try to settle the dispute on their own. The Supreme Court will meet on Tuesday to consider a further delay.
In 1992, Hindu activists demolished a 16th century Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, sparking clashes between Hindus and Muslims that killed more than 2,000 people. Hindus say the mosque had been built on the site of the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama. They want to build a temple on the site.
Muslims want to rebuild the 16th-century Babri Mosque, which was demolished by Hindu activists in 1992.
Earlier this month, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the judgment was one of his top concerns. He said the way India handles the aftermath of the decision will have a "profound impact" on the evolution of the country.
Thousand of extra police and paramilitary troops have been deployed throughout Uttar Pradesh to maintain peace.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.