Will the Allahabad High Court succeed in settling the dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid, which has remained unresolved for decades?
This is the question on top of several minds as the nation awaits with bated breath the verdict in the six decade old legal dispute over the ownership of the land where the 1528-built Babri Masjid once stood.
The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, comprising Justices D V Sharma, Sudhir Agarwal and S U Khan, is slated to pronounce the verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit at 3:30 PM.
The High Court here has been turned into a virtually impregnable fortress and only the parties to the legal dispute and their lawyers will be allowed entry to Court Number 21 where the three judges will pronounce their verdict.
Unprecedented security measure have been put in place across the state and particularly in the capital here to ensure that no untoward incident takes place in the aftermath of the verdict.
The state government has clamped a ban on any overt display of victory or defeat after the pronouncement of the verdict which may run into several thousand pages. "Any such attempts will be firmly dealt with," Deputy Inspector General Rajeev Krishna said.
Around 1.90 lakh security personnel have been deployed across the state which Home Minister P Chidambaram said was "more than enough" to maintain law and order. At least 2,000 paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the city in addition to regular police force to maintain peace.
People went about their daily routines and schools and offices functioned normally in the state capital amid heavy police presence to check any untoward incident.
The only hurdle in the pronouncement of the verdict was cleared by the Supreme Court Tuesday when it dismissed the petition by a retired bureaucrat Ramesh Chandra Tripathi for deferment of the keenly-awaited judgement.
The High Court verdict assumes significance as an amicable solution to the dispute over a piece of land has not been achieved through negotiations between the two religious groups.
Repeated attempts were made by former Prime Ministers P V Narasimha Rao, V P Singh and Chandra Shekhar to persuade the two sides to reach a compromise but with little success.
The Ayodhya dispute has been an emotive issue for decades and mired in a slew of legal suits involving Hindu and Muslim religious groups.
The first title suit in the case was filed in 1950 by one Gopal Singh Visharad, seeking an injunction for permitting 'pooja'(worship) of Lord Ram at the disputed site while the second suit was filed by Paramhans Ramchandra Das also in 1950 seeking the same injunction but this was later withdrawn.