Police alert at Hindu temple site

NEW DELHI (AP) - Hundreds of policemen were deployed yesterday in a holy town in eastern India as Muslim groups prepared to march to a mosque where Hindu zealots are building a temple.

The interior minister, S B Chavan, flew to Ayodhya to see whether Hindu fundamentalists, backed by the Uttar Pradesh state government, had violated court orders in starting construction work four days ago. The temple will eventually replace the 400-year-old mosque. Politicians fear the work could trigger nationwide Hindu-Muslim riots, similar to the one in 1990 when about 1,000 people were killed. Thousands of religious fanatics, claiming they represent all Hindus, chanted hymns yesterday while pouring cement to build a temple for Ram, one of their gods.