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Ayodhya verdict `not a victory or defeat of anyone`, says PM Modi

Security has been stepped up in the Indian city of Ayodhya ahead of a Supreme Court verdict on the future of a disputed religious site

Though the court can sit any day, hear the case and also deliver its verdict, November 17 is a Sunday and usually, the verdict in an important case is not announced on a holiday.

Apart from Ayodhya, the circular cautioned the Uttar Pradesh government to keep watch on highly sensitive areas in the state and deploy police force at specific locations, following apprehensions that "anti-social elements" may provoke religious sentiments of the people.

Hundreds of people were detained on Friday amid fears of violence.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also dispatched around 4,000 paramilitary personnel for security deployment in Uttar Pradesh, particularly in Ayodhya.

"State governments have identified several schools to set up temporary jails if the need arises", said the official, who declined to be identified.

The UP government had earlier also said that they are monitoring social media to see if any inflammatory messages were being posted.

"Whatever be the verdict, we all must ensure to show restraint while reacting to it", CM said. "My appeal to the countrymen is that it should be the priority of all of us that this decision should further strengthen the great tradition of peace, unity & goodwill of India".

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked his council of ministers to refrain from making unnecessary statements in connection with the Ayodhya verdict. He urged people to honour the verdict.

Hindus make up about 80 per cent of India's 1.3 billion population while there are about 200 million Muslims.

Hindu groups say the site should be restored to Hindus in keeping with their sentiments while Muslims and secularists say the destruction of the mosque was a risky step towards empowering a violent nationalist mob.

Ayodhya - considered one of the holiest Hindu sites - is visited by religious pilgrims from all over India throughout the year.

The five-judges bench heard the arguments in the case for 40 days and reserved its verdict on October 16.

Fourteen appeals had been filed before the Supreme Court against the 2010 Allahabad high court judgment, which said the disputed 22.7 acres should be equally divided among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.