Monday, March 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

ASI team in Ayodhya
Excavation work begins today

Ayodhya, March 9
A 12-member team of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) arrived here today to excavate the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site following a high court order, amidst tight security arrangements.

Two additional companies of the CRPF and three companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary are being deployed at the disputed site where the ASI team led by Dr B.R. Mani would start excavation tomorrow, the Inspector-General of Police, Lucknow, Mr A.K. Jain, told reporters here.

Foolproof security arrangements have been made in an around the acquired land and the excavation area would be cordoned off.

A human wall would be formed between the makeshift Ram temple and the excavation site and no visitor would be allowed inside the area, Mr Jain said. Members of the ASI team as well as labourers engaged in excavation would be issued identity cards.

The instruments used in excavation would be listed and kept in safe custody after the day’s work, Mr Jain said. Pilgrims would be allowed to offer prayers at the makeshift temple but would not be allowed at the excavation site, the IGP said.

Adequate security would be provided to the ASI team and the relics, artefacts and other articles found during excavation would be kept in safe custody, Mr Jain said.

The Allahabad High Court on March 5 had ordered the ASI to excavate the disputed site to ascertain whether a temple existed at the place where Babri Masjid was built.

Security arrangements have been put in place in the temple town for the work to be carried out peacefully and the team members stay in Ayodhya during the duration of the excavation, said Faizabad SP city Rajendra Singh.

Earlier, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey was carried out at the disputed site in Ayodhya by Delhi-based Tojo-Vikas International Ltd last year.

The findings of the excavation, to be taken up from tomorrow, may be read along side others evidence in the Ayodhya case, including land records. PTI, UNI


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