Thursday, March 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

HC orders excavation
Our Correspondent

Lucknow, March 5
In a major development in the Ayodhya case, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court today ordered the excavation of the disputed site at Ayodhya to ascertain whether or not there existed a temple at the site, before the Babri Masjid was built.

The three-judge bench of the high court, while hearing the title suit of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out the excavation.

“The excavation is to be carried out by the excavation department of the ASI and the work should start within a week of issuing this order,” said the High Court.

It also clarified that the survey should be carried out within a month’s time and the report should be submitted to the court within a week of completion of the job.

The court, however, asked the ASI not to disturb the sanctum sanctorum where the statue of Ram Lalla is placed.

“The excavation should spare 10 sqm of the area (chabutra) where the statue of Ram Lalla is placed and where worshipping is carried out,” the order said.

It may be recalled that the Indo-Canadian company Toji Vikas India (Pvt) Ltd had carried out a survey of the disputed area in Ayodhya with radar system and on February 17 had submitted its report to the High Court.

The court had earlier asked the parties involved in this suit their impression about the excavation. Some objections were filed but the court today over-ruled those objections and directed excavation of the site.

It has suggested some “anomaly” at the base, suggesting there may be a structure on which another structure was built.

In another Ayodhya-related judgment, the special CBI court (Ayodhya Prakaran) had today allowed the transfer of files of the cases related with nine accused, including Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, and Murli Manohar Joshi, to the special CBI court of Rae Bareli.

With this decision, the court had paved the way for the trial of senior Union Minister in the Babri demolition case.

The BJP had welcomed these two court decisions. The spokesman of the party Hridaya Narain Dixit said the party had been advocating solution of this vexed issue through court.

“The survey carried out through radar system had proved the existence of a temple at the base of Babri Masjid. The excavation by the ASI will only confirm this finding,” Mr Dixit added.

The state president of the SP Ram Saran Das also welcomed the order.



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