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Prime Minister Manmohan Tuesday urged the people to maintain peace and harmony after the Allahabad High Court delivers its verdict Thursday in the 61-year-old Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya.

“Whatever be the nature of judgment, I think everyone should make every effort to maintain peace, harmony and tranquility in the country,” Manmohan Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a book release function here Tuesday.

He recalled that the appeal for peace had been mentioned in the resolution adopted by the union cabinet Sep 16.

Earlier in the day, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia dismissed a petition to defer the high court judgment to facilitate attempts for an out-of-court settlement.

The judgment by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court was earlier scheduled for Sep 24 but the apex court deferred it Sep 23.

Last week, Home Minister P. Chidmabaram had also appealed for peace after the verdict.

Both Manmohan Singh and Chidmabaram had pointed out that the high court judgment may not be the final word in the dispute as one could appeal in the apex court.

The suit relates to a disputed site in Ayodhya, which Hindu groups claim to be the birthplace of Lord Ram. On Dec 6, 1992, radical Hindu activists destroyed the Babri Masjid, alleging it was built in 1528 after razing a temple there.

The demolition had triggered one of the worst communal riots, resulting in the death of 2,000 people in different states.

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