Ayodhya case: Hindus cite archaeology to show site was place of worship

New Delhi: On the seventh day of the Ayodhya hearing, the Hindu parties cited evidence based on an archaeological report to state that there was a massive structure at the Babri Masjid site dating back to the 2nd century BC which was public in nature and that the structure would be a temple or mandap with pillars.

A Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is conducting the hearing on the vexed Ayodhya dispute. Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan, appearing for Ram Lalla Virajman, informed the court the archaeological study was carried out at the disputed site where the Babri mosque was demolished by a mob in December 1992.

The archaeological report concluded various structures were found in various layers during the excavation. For example, a passage to drain excess water resulting from the abhishek of the deity was found.

The senior counsel informed the court about the stratigraphy methodology deployed by the archaeologists to identify the remains from the previous civilisation, which indicate a massive structure of public status existed which could be used by a large number of people especially for worship. This was absolutely different from a structure meant for private use.

“Besides the pottery, broken figure in terracotta, round vessel with legion... The oldest northwest black polish level (had) Ashokan Brahmi script,” argued the counsel, establishing there have been structures from the 2nd and 3rd century BC that point to religious structures at the disputed place.

Vaidyanathan also inform­ed the bench the imagery and sculptures within the structure (Babri Masjid) established it was not a mosque as such expression of imagery was not usually seen in mosques. Merely because Muslims prayed there does not give them ownership over it, he contended.

Vaidyanathan also referred to sculptures on the structural pillars, which he said had images of Garuda flanked by lions. He contended such imagery was completely in contrast to Islamic practices as they have no images of any human or animal in a mosque.

Vaidyanathan referred to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report suggesting the remains excavated were from a large structure with a lot of pillars and columns.

He said that this structure was open to the public. Citing the report, the counsel added there were several pictures of deities found on pillars of the massive structure.

The senior lawyer read out the report of the commissioner, appoin­t­ed to inspect the site, which suggested presence of pillars with images of Lord Shiva.

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