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Babri Masjid site
Court suggests excavation
In a bid to know whether a temple existed beneath Babri Masjid, a special bench of Allahabad High Court hearing the title suit has suggested excavation of the site. The bench is of the opinion that the dispute can be resolved through archaeology, a discipline that has achieved great authenticity in modern times.
Now this site is to be excavated
A judge-bench consisting of Justice Bhanwar Singh, Justice Syed Rifat Alam and Justice Sudhir Narain observed recently that if there was a temple or any other religious structure on the disputed site, it could be ascertained through excavation. Giving a general outline of how the excavation should be done, in case it was decided by government, the bench directed the contesting parties to put forward their suggestions on the issue in writing within two weeks.
The bench observed that in case the excavation was carried out it, should be done by Archaeological Survey Of India under the supervision of five eminent archaeologists even if they were retired, and two of them must be Muslim.
The bench said that the excavation should be videographed. In case any artifact is found, it should be photographed in colour as well as in black and white. Slides should also be prepared. Such artifacts should be kept in the custody of UP government.
The bench also suggested that the idol of Lord Rama kept at the disputed site for the darshan of the devotees should be kept at the chabootra (platform) situated at the east side of the site till the excavation was completed. The court could appoint observers for excavation. Before excavation, the Archaeological Survey of India has to survey the site by ground- penetrating radar or geo-radiology devices and prepare a report, taking financial assistance from the Centre.
The judges visited the site on May 4. The district magistrate Faizabad had sent a list of 265 items/artifacts said to have been recovered at the site at the time of demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. These items are kept in Ram Katha Kunj at Ayodhya.
In the meantime, the bench allowed the plantiff Sunni Waqf Board to call its earlier witness Professor Suraj Bhan after cross-examination of another witness Dr. SP Gupta is completed .The bench however refused permission to call back Prof. Suvitra Jaiswal for re-examination of witness.
Th bench also dismissed the application presented on behalf of Bhagwan Ram Lalla Virajman through Justice (retd.) Deoki Nandan Agarwal and Rajput Sabha president Dharam Veer Rawal. Justice Agarwal expired a few months ago. Rawal submitted that since the only heir to Mir Baqi, who constructed the Babri Masjid, Mir Jawad Husain, entered an agreement on January 1, 1948 handing over Babri Masjid to be used as Ram temple and agreed to construct a mosque in his native village Sahjanwa in Faizbad district, the case may be closed. The Sunni Waqf Board advocate pleaded before the court that the application was nothing but an attempt to waste time of the court. The application was dismissed.
¯ Obaid Nasir in Lucknow