Sunday, March 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Excavation leads to mosque floor
VHP threatens stir from March 27

Ayodhya, March 15
Excavation at three of the four new trenches at the disputed site here today led to the floor of the demolished structure, forcing archaeologists to ponder over the next course of action.

After three hours of digging, labourers, who resumed excavation after the Moharram break this morning, came across the floor of the structure as was the case when the first four 4 x 4 metre trenches were dug, sources said.

ASI Superintending Archaeologist B.R. Mani had on Thursday decided to defer excavation of the floor till necessary permission was obtained from the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. Sunni Central Wakf Board Counsel Zafaryab Geelani told PTI that a decision on the next course of action would be taken after Mr Mani returns to the site.

Three days of excavation have, so far, led to the recovery of a shell, a basal (gomed — a precious stone) and two brick-marks of 1920s vintage.

Earlier, this morning, Geelani said he would be giving a representation to the ASI over the presence of only one Muslim in the excavation team and the absence of even a single Muslim among the 52 labourers engaged for the task. “We want the ASI to give us an explanation with regard to this discrimination,” he said.

Meanwhile, VHP media in charge Sharad Sharma said mass mobilisation was on across Uttar Pradesh for its “satyagraha” in support of a Parliamentary enactment to immediately hand over the acquired land to Ram Janmaboomi Nyas and facilitate the construction of temple. Security personnel in Ayodhya and neighbouring Faizabad continued to maintain strict vigil even as the two towns remained normal.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has threatened to launch a demonstration from March 27 for seeking possession of the undisputed land in Ayodhya. While intensifying its activities in Ayodhya, senior VHP leaders are reportedly camping in the area.

VHP sources today said during the first phase of the demonstration, the organisation would hold a ‘satyagraha’ in New Delhi.

The VHP is also planning to pressurise the government to hand over the undisputed site they said.

The Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) is also making efforts to increase the presence of Muslim members in the group present at the site of the excavation along with the team of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Agencies


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