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Published in the 16-31 May 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Babri Masjid round-up

Demolition of Babri Masjid on 6 December was wrong

The Milli Gazette Online

Lucknow: The witness of Dharam Das in Babri Masjid ownership case, Bishan Bahadur who is a historian said that the demolition of Babri Masjid on 6 December was wrong. He said that in his view the demolition of the mosque was not proper any way. In reply to a question by Zafaryab Jilani, he said in the presence of special commissioner Hari Shankar Dubey that Ayodhya was under the rule of Gaharwal dynasty from 1200 to 1226. He also admitted that Mughul emperor Aurangzeb never came to Ayodhya but he had ordered demolition of temples of Banaras in 1659 and in 1669 he had ordered the demolition of temples in general. 

He said that it is mentioned in Babarnama that Mughal emperor Babar was fond of gardening and had praised Maan Singhís palace and temples and idols there after seeing them. The witness said that Babar had demolished only the private parts of idols, not the entire idols. He also admitted that there is no mention in the Babarnama of any temple being demolished and a mosque being built at the demolished site. He said that Athar Abbas Rizvi had translated the Babarnama into Hindi.

He added that in the board installed in the Babri Masjid it was not clearly mentioned that the temple was not demolished and that on this place angels descended and added that the word angels was used for gods and goddesses who used to descend on this place. He said the Mughal kings were not responsible as the Babri Masjid was built by Mir Baqi after demolishing the temple in Ayodhya, as it was clear from inscriptions on the board in Babri Masjid. There was no important historical event from 7th to 11th centuries in Ayodhya. He said that Shah Zoran Ghauri had attacked Ayodhya and demolished the Jain Mandir when Harish Chandra was the ruler of Ayodhya. (Rashtriya Sahara [Urdu daily] April 29, 2005)

Dharam Das statements historically untrue 
Lucknow: Mahant Dharam Das, while deposing before the special commissioner Hari Shankar Dubey in Babri Masjid ownership case said that Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was not built during the lifetime of Goswamy Tulsi Das. In reply to Zafaryab Jilaniís question he said that Babri Masjid, as it existed on 6 December 1992 with three domes was not so in Tulsi Dasí times but he could not say what was its shape.

It may be noted that approximately 40 years after the construction of Babri Masjid, Tulsi Das had written Ram Charit Manas in Ayodhya but there is no mention of Babri Masjid being built after demolishing a Ram Mandir in the book. 

Das added in his statement that Babri Masjid with three domes was there during Ramís days also. After many question being asked, he said that when Tulsi Das wrote Ram Charit Manas, there was a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya and having a grand dome, and the dome was demolished in the presence of Tulsi Das. 

Das termed the statement of Ram Vilas Vedanti, the witness who had deposed before him, as wrong and said that there was no maternity home of any queen below the northern and southern domes of the masjid. There was a building there called Kaushalya Bhawan. He clarified that there were separate maternity homes in the palaces of other queens of King Dasrath. He admitted that there could not be a kitchen by the side of a maternity home. Das said that todayís Ayodhya is in the same shape and form as it is described in Balmikiís Ramayan. Sitaji used to come from her palace to Kaushalya Bhawan to cook food. He also said that River Gomti which passed through Sultanpur was also a part of Ayodhya. 

In reply to a question put up by Mushtaq Ahmad Siddiqi, Das admitted that there is an old janmasthan mandir to the north of Babri Masjid and there is an idol of Ram in it. The mandir is also called Sita Rasoee (kitchen). When he was asked how long human beings used to be during Ramís time, he could not answer. He however admitted that all the three domes of the Babri Masjid were of the same shape. Das added that when Lord Ram went to spend 14 years in the forests, the people of Ayodhya and Faizabad wept for him and that is why a place in Faizabad is named as Ronhi. (Rashtriya Sahara [Urdu daily] April 6, 2005)

ďRussia, China were parts of India in Ramís daysĒ
Lucknow: Mahant Ram Das while deposing before the Special Commissioner, Hari Shankar Dubey in Babri Masjid ownership case said in his statement that during Ramís reign, the name of the country was Aryawart and not Hindustan and that Russia, China, Iran and Iraq were parts of the Aryawart. Ram had ruled over Aryawart for ten thousand years. He added in reply to a question by Abdul Mannan, the counsel of Jamiatul Ulama-e Hind (UP) and other Muslim parties, that Ram ruled over the whole world but he did not know the length and breadth of the world during those times. He said that during the time of Ram the countries like America, England and France were called Pataal Lok and the king of the Pataal Lok was Mahi Ravan, the brother of Ravan who had kidnapped Ram and Lakshman and taken them to Pataal Lok but later on Hanumaanji freed them after killing Mahi Ravan.

He added that lakhs of people were killed in the war between Ram and Ravan and that Ram had not mobilised the army from Ayodhya to fight against Ravan but he had fought with the help of Sugrivís (monkey-king) army. Ram had built a 500-kilometre long bridge from Rameshwaram to Lanka within one month and the Ramís army crossed the bridge and reached Lanka. The war against Ravan continued for one month. After winning the war Ram returned to Ayodhya along with Sita in a single day. 

He said that the war between Ram and Ravan had been fought in Lanka. After defeating and killing Ravan, Ram made Ravanís brother Vibhishan the king of Lanka and he is king of Lanka till today, adding that the Lanka of Vibhishan is inside the sea. (Rashtriya Sahara [Urdu daily] March 23, 2005)

ASIís report on Babri Masjid to Liberhan Commission 
New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in its preliminary report submitted to Liberhan Commission, which is enquring into the circumstances leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, has said that the disputed structure was erected on a building for common use between 12th and 16th century. This disputed structure was built on a straight building in the beginning of 16th century. 

According to the report, the lower portion of the building was used for common use for a long time. The disputed structure that was built during the Mughul period was limited to a circle and that the people hadstarted living around it. According to ASI, this is proved by the utensils and other items found during the excavations. The ASI claimed that the ground penetrating radar survey at the disputed place shows that the remains found during the excavation resemble those of the temples of northern India. There is a mention in the report that the discovery of huge structures below the disputed place and the proof of another structure of 10th century near the disputed structure, many other stones and inscribed bricks have great resemblance with the stones and other features of the temples of northern India. 

BJP leader and former UP CM, Kalyan Singh said before the Liberhan Commission on 18 March that the ASI report clearly showed that the disputed structure of Babri Masjid was built at the site of demolished temple and that it existed before 1528.

In a supplementary affidavit filed before the Commission Kalyan Singh said that the report was prepared by the ASI after carrying out the diggings on the orders of Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court.(Rashtriya Sahara [Urdu daily] March 19, 2005) 

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