SC banks on ASI report that found structure under Babri

The report, however, is silent on any specific evidence of the structure being a temple dedicated to Lord Ram though non-islamic items and figurines were recovered during an excavation ordered by the Allahabad High Court. (File Photo)

In delivering the historic Ayodhya verdict, the Supreme Court bench relied extensively on a 2003 Archeological Survey of India report that concluded Babri Masjid wasn't built on a vacant land but on an underlying structure of equal size.

The report, however, is silent on any specific evidence of the structure being a temple dedicated to Lord Ram though non-islamic items and figurines were recovered during an excavation ordered by the Allahabad High Court.

Ayodhya Verdict Live

The ASI not only surveyed the area with ground penetrating radar but dug a part of the disputed site too unearthing 85 underground pillars and several other items of archeological value.

The three most crucial findings of the ASI report, as accepted by the SC are (i) the Babri mosque was not constructed on vacant land; (ii) excavation indicates presence of an underlying structure below the disputed structure; and (iii) the underlying structure was not of Islamic origin.

The foundation of the disputed structure, according to the report, rests on the walls of the underlying structure, which was at least of equal, if not larger, than the disputed structure.

Artefacts, potteries and motifs recovered from the site besides 62 human and 131 animal figurines found during the excavation have a distinct non-Islamic origin, though some of them could have been utilised in a Buddhist or Jain structure.

While artefacts pertaining to Hindu religious origin were found in abundance, there is no evidence of the underlying structure being of an Islamic religious nature, notes the SC verdict quoting the ASI report.

The excavation revealed the existence of a circular shrine conceivably a Shiva shrine dating back to the 7th-9th century AD whereas the underlying structure belonged to 12th AD. Two separate antiquities of the underground structures three to five centuries apart is one of the caveats of the ASI report.

Other two riders are (i) absence of a specific finding that the underlying structure was a Ram temple and (ii) ASI didn't specifically opine on whether a temple was demolished for the construction of the disputed structure though it has emerged from the report that the disputed structure was constructed on the site of and utilised the foundation and material of the underlying structure.

Besides excavation and radar survey, the ASI team also carbon dated some of the samples before writing the report.

The archeologists found nine distinct layers of settlement beginning with a period pertaining to 6th to 3rd century BC followed by Sunga, Kushan and Gupta dynasties and continued till Rajput, Mughal and British era.

While the ASI argued the artefacts were “indicative of remains with distinctive features associated with the temples of north India” it couldn't find specific evidence to suggest a structure had been demolished to construct a mosque.

“The report is silent on this facet,” says the SC judgment.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)