NEW DELHI — Indian security forces gunned down five armed men who attacked a religious site in northern India claimed by Hindus and Muslims, TV news channels said.
The assault took place at a complex that houses a makeshift temple to the Hindu god-king Ram in the town of Ayodhya, erected after Hindu mobs destroyed a 16th-century mosque there in 1992.
Hindus say the building was on the site where they believe Ram was born thousands of years ago.
"Some terrorists have got in. Firing is going on. One of them has been killed, and the driver of their vehicle has been arrested," said Arun Sinha, a senior government official in the area.
Television reports later said the gun battle had ended and police were in control of the complex. It was not immediately clear whether the attackers had entered the sprawling, heavily guarded complex, which consists of old temples, dilapidated structures and open ground.
Reports that the attackers had used explosives could not be immediately confirmed.
The disputed site at Ayodhya, about 350 miles east of New Delhi, created deep divisions between India's Hindus and the Muslim minority after the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party led a late-1980s campaign to build a Ram temple on the site of the mosque, culminating in the mosque's destruction.