Utpal Borpujari

October 6, 2010

Ayodhya judges relied heavily on ASI report

By Utpal Borpujari & B S Arun

The three-judge Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court relied heavily in its verdict on the Ram Janmabhumi-Babri Masjid dispute, on the report of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which was asked to excavate the site of the disputed structure in Ayodhya.
The Bench went deep into the ASI’s report on excavation in the area, listening to arguments for and against it and dissecting it before arriving at its own conclusions (some reputed historians are, however, critical of the ASI report).The Bench depended on the ASI report to arrive at its verdict on the third issue – whether the mosque was built after demolishing a temple?  So, what did the ASI report exactly say on the disputed site? Here are some relevant excerpts of what is contained in the ASI’s most famous report till date. The excavation was carried out during March-August 2003 at the disputed area of Ram Janmabhumi-Babri Masjid located between Latitude 26º 47′ 43.6” to 26º 47′ 45.0” N and Longitude 82º 11′ 31.1” to 82º 11′ 39.9” E and around within the 50 feet limit.

The ASI went ahead with the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Geo-radiology survey under the orders of the court. The excavation team placed the order for GPR Survey to Tojo-Vikas International (Pvt) Ltd (TVIPL), which conducted the survey and submitted its report along with annexures on February 17, 2003. Following this, the ASI was directed by the court to excavate the disputed site.

The excavation found that the human occupation of the disputed site happened first during the First Millennium BC, followed by several other rounds of occupation till the 10th century AD.

According to the report, it was during the early medieval period (11th-12th century AD) that a huge structure, nearly 50m in north-south orientation, was constructed. It was a short-lived structure, and on the remains of this was constructed a massive structure with at least three structural phases and three successive floors attached with it.

This monumental structure remained under existence for a long time during the Medieval-Sultanate level, that is between the 12th and 16th century AD.

During the early 16th century, the disputed structure was constructed directly resting over it, says the report.

“There is sufficient proof of existence of a massive and monumental structure having a minimum dimension of 50x30m in north-south and east-west directions respectively just below the disputed structure,” it said.

“The centre of the central chamber of the disputed structure was just over the central point of the length of the massive wall of the preceding period which could not be excavated due to presence of Ram Lala at the spot in the makeshift structure,” the report said.

The area below the disputed site remained a place for public use for a long time till the Mughal era when the disputed structure was built, it said.

“Viewing in totality and taking into account the Archeological evidence of a massive structure just below the disputed structure and evidence of continuity in structural phases from the 10th century onwards up to the construction of the disputed structure along with the yield of stone and decorated bricks as well as mutilated sculpture of divine couple and carved architectural members including foliage patterns, amalaka, kapotapali doorjamb with semi-circular pilaster, broken octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine having pranala (waterchute) in the north, fifty pillar bases in association of the huge structure, are indicative of remains which are distinctive features found associated with the temples of north India,” the report had concluded

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 02-10-2010)


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