The Indian Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Jan. 4, 2019 the case of decades-old Babri Mosque dispute between Muslims and Hindus.

The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) said some Hindu nationalist parties “want to polarize the country on communal lines” by using the issue.

“SDPI welcomes the Supreme Court move to hear Babri Majid case on 4th Jan. It is hoped that the Court will constitute a bench that day and decide the course of hearing,” it said in a statement.

In December 1992, Hindus gathered at the disputed site and destroyed the 16th-century mosque named after Mughal Emperor Babur. The destruction sparked nationwide riots that left around 2,000 people dead.

The dispute between Hindus and Muslims has resulted in thousands of deaths over the years.

Muslims demand a new mosque at the site, while Hindus claim that this was where their god Ram was born, demanding instead a temple at the site.

“I hope that courts will not be affected by any malicious propaganda carried out by some fringe elements spreading falsehood about the Ram Mandir, saying that they are losing patience. This seems like threatening the judiciary and challenging its authority,” SDPI National President M K Faizi said.

Faizi also condemned the far-right Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) party leadership for their statement that temple is bound to be built at the same place.

“Through Ram Mandir movement, these fringe elements under the patronage of fascist RSS are trying to create hatred against 800-year-Muslim rule and […] want to polarize the country on communal lines permanently plunging the nation into a chaos and anarchy,” he added.

Babri Mosque dispute

The Babri Mosque is said to have been built by Mughal Emperor Babur in 1526.

In 1885, a Hindu religious body filed a case in Faizabad court asking for permission to construct a temple to honor Ram inside the premises of the Babri Mosque. The permission was denied.

In 1949, a group of Hindus entered the premises of the mosque and installed an idol of Ram there. The idol was not removed and it was locked by the administration. However, an official and a Hindu priest were given charge to look after the place.

In 1986, the district administration of Faizabad, under which Ayodhya city comes, opened the premises to Hindus, allowing them to carry out their rituals.

The situation remained calm until December 1992, when thousands of activists belonging to extremist Hindu groups and political parties along with BJP leaders entered Babri Mosque and demolished it.

The case over the dispute has been languishing in India’s legal system for years without any final outcome. The Indian Supreme Court has fixed the next date of hearing on Jan. 4, 2019.