Thursday, July 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Court raps ASI for seeking extension
Our Correspondent

Lucknow, July 2
The three-member Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, hearing the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, today rapped the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for repeatedly seeking extension and reserved its order till tomorrow even as counsel of the Sunni Central Waqf Board (SCWB), one of the plaintiffs, said that the extension was sought under the directions of the BJP leadership in New Delhi.

“Extension at this point of time was unjustified and prima facie it seems that the ASI was seeking extension on the direction of its political leaders sitting in New Delhi,” said Zaffaryab Jilani, the SCWB counsel.

While raising his objections to the ASI application of the extension, Jilanli wrote in his application: “The BJP is interested in dragging the excavation work at least up to the end of the forthcoming Assembly polls in the state, which are likely to be held in October and November”.

“They are apprehending that the final excavation report may not give the message of any foundation of the alleged temple having found at the disputed site and such a report may damage the BJP’s prospect in the said Assembly polls,” the application further said.

Questioning the ASI’s request for extension, the SCWB counsel said that “up to June 28 the ASI team appeared to be of the view that no further extension may be required but all of a sudden they (ASI) appeared to have changed their mind and this change of attitude appears to be on account of the instructions received from Delhi and not on the basis of their assessment.”

At one point of time the court even asked Jilani whether he was asking for a different commission to take up the digging job. “I am not saying that. I have presented the facts before the court,” Jilani said.

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