Indian security forces on Thursday flooded the northern town of Ayodhya where a mosque was demolished by Hindu zealots 20 years ago in a move that unleashed a wave of deadly religious riots. More than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in clashes in New Delhi, Mumbai and other cities after the Babri mosque in Ayodhya was torn down on December 6, 1992 by protesters seeking to build a Hindu temple on the site. Opposing sides still wrangle over control of the tightly-guarded spot, with the Supreme Court last year suspending a ruling that divided it into three sections -- one for Hindus, one for Muslims and one for a local Hindu trust. At least 5,000 police were out in force in Ayodhya and surrounding areas of Uttar Pradesh, with officers manning road blocks and monitoring key intersections to prevent any demonstrations.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed a Rae Bareily court to expeditiously hear Babri Masjid demolition case against BJP leader L K Advani and 19 others against whom charge of criminal conspiracy was dropped by trial court. Agencies