'ASI unwilling to take possession of Subhash Park land'

Fearing trouble from those rooting for the construction of a mosque at the controversial site at the Subhash Park in central Delhi, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is unwilling to take over the possession of the land from the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC).

NDMC standing committee chairman Yogender Chandolia said the ASI is perhaps not comfortable with the idea “in the current scenario.”

“The ASI officials are not very keen on taking over the land with its current status. They claim they cannot conduct their enquiry with the land constructed over the base of the wall, which was unearthed beneath the site,” said standing committee chairman Yogender Chandolia.

A senior North corporation official too confirmed ASI’s reluctance.

“The ASI is reluctant in taking over the land. However, they are roping in special team from IIT Kanpur, which is equipped with a radar that could identify any structure beneath the ground,” the official said.

Putting a ban on any kind of construction at the controversial site, the Delhi High Court on Friday had asked the ASI to take over the site and ascertain if the Akbarabadi Masjid actually existed or not.

The court has also sought report from the police and fixed the next date of hearing in the matter on July 25. The Delhi police, ASI and NDMC will be presenting their cases before the court on Wednesday.

The ASI officials on Monday refused to comment on the issue since it is sub-judice.
Meanwhile, the standing committee chairman said though the corporation will follow court order on the issue, they will plead before the court to order demolition of the illegal construction.

‘Illegal construction’

“The construction at the site is illegal. Moreover, the ASI cannot conduct an enquiry till the time the wall at the site exists. We will take permission from the court to demolish the wall and hand over the land to the ASI for further enquiry,” said Chandolia.

The BJP leader alleged that since no Congress leader, including Kapil Sibal, J P Agrawal and Shiela Dikshit, spoke on the matter, it smacks of controversy.

Meanwhile, leader of House in the North corporation, Mukesh Goel, accused the ruling BJP of not acting on time. “All parties involved should follow the court order. We want peace to prevail in the region,” Goel said.

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