LUCKNOW, INDIA, August 25, 2003: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said a temple-like "massive structure" existed beneath the disputed site in Ayodhya in its 574-page report. The ASI report, submitted on August 22, was opened by the three-member Full Bench, comprising Justice SR Alam, Justice Khem Karan and Justice Bhanwar Singh on Monday. The bench has given six-week time to contesting parties for filing their objections on the sensational revelations made by the ASI in its two-volume report. "Viewing in totality and taking into account the archaeological evidence of a massive structure just below the disputed structure and evidence of continuity in structural phases from the tenth century onwards up to the construction of the disputed structure along with yield of stone and decorated bricks as well mutilated sculpture of divine couple...., 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," concluded the ASI in its report. The ASI team, led by Hari Manjhi and B R Mani, had excavated the disputed site for nearly five months between March 12 and August 7 2003 on the March 5 order of the High Court. In its report on the famous excavations, the ASI has dwelt at length the period from circa 1000 BCE to 300 BCE and from Sunga (first century BCE) to Kushan, Gupta, Post-Gupta up to Medieval Sultanate level (12-16 century CE). The ASI report mentions a huge structure (11-12th century) on which a massive structure, having a huge pillared hall (or two halls), with at least three structural phases and three successive floors attached with it was constructed later on. "There is sufficient proof of existence of a massive and monumental structure having a minimum of 50 x 30 meter in north-south and east-west directions respectively just below the disputed structure," states the report.
To prove its point, the report says that during the course of digging, nearly 50 pillar bases with brickbat foundation, below calcrete blocks topped by sandstones were found. It also suggests that the center of the central chamber of the disputed structure falls 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. Significantly, the ASI report did not give any weightage to the glazed wares, graves and skeletons of animals and human beings found during the excavations. Rather it suggests that the glazed tiles were used in the construction of original disputed structure. Similarly, the celadon and porcelain shards and animal bones, skeletons recovered from trenches in northern and southern areas belong to late and post-Mughal period, it adds. In drafting its report, the ASI has also given importance to the carbon dating to ascertain the period of soil and artefacts found during digging. About the habitation around the disputed ground, the ASI report observed that "below the disputed site remained a place for public use for a long time till the Mughal period when the disputed structure was built which was confined to a limited area and population settled around it as evidenced by the increase in contemporary archaeological material, including pottery."
However, and as to be expected, the ASI report has come as a rude shock to the Sunni Central Wakf Board and other Muslim organizations. "It is baseless, misinterpreted, based on wrong facts and drafted under intense political pressure," reacted Jafrayab Jilani, counsel for SCWB while announcing that they will challenge the report.http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?msid=145797