The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) informed the Allahabad High Court after a six-month-long excavation that it had found evidence of there being a temple under the Babri Masjid, which was demolished by kar sevaks on 6 December 1992, reported HuffingtonPost.
The ASI has been accused of having preconceived notions ahead of the dig and violating ethical codes and procedures during the excavation by the two archaeologists, Supriya Varma and Jaya Menon. Varma, professor of archaeology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Menon heads the history department at Shiv Nadar University.
The professors told the court that the excavation did not find anything that supported ASI’s conclusion. Earlier in 2010, they published a paper in the Economic and Political Weekly, challenging the methods used in collecting evidence and its interpretation.
The archaeologists said that the ASI which was under the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP-led) National Democratic Alliance government, was under pressure to reinforce the Hindu right-wing narrative that Mughal emperor Babur’s general Mir Baqi knocked down a temple to build a mosque on the spot where Hindu god Ram was born.
These archaeologists were observers during the excavation on behalf of the Sunni Waqf Board, a party to the tile suit in the Ayodhya dispute.
When asked about the evidence on the basis of which the ASI is claiming that there was a temple, they explained three things. The ASI excavation is not an evidence that there was a temple underneath the mosque. One is this western wall, the second are these 50 pillar bases and third are architectural fragments. The western wall is a feature of a mosque. It is a wall in front of which you say namaaz. It is not the feature of a temple. Temple has a very different plan. Underneath the Babri Masjid, there are actually older mosques.
They said that the pillar bases are completely fabricated and we filed many complaints to the court about it. Our argument is that if you look at what they are claiming to be pillar bases, these are pieces of broken bricks and they have mud inside them. There is no way a pillar can even stand on it, it’s a completely political issue. They wanted that report to say there are pillar bases and it said there are pillar bases.