Ayodhya hearing: Structure, features found at site bear temple signs, SC told

Ananthakrishnan G
Justice Chandrachud pointed out that a grave was discovered during the digging and asked how this could be explained.

Materials unearthed by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) pointed to the presence of a massive structure…with features distinctive of a temple at the site of Babri Masjid, the senior counsel for Ramlalla, C S Vaidyanathan, on Friday told the Supreme Court, which sought to know how he was linking the discoveries from beneath the ground at the disputed site to a religious structure.

Vaidyanathan took the CJI Ranjan Gogoi-led bench through the report of ASI, which excavated the site on the Allahabad High Court s orders and submitted its findings in 2003, and said that one of the most significant discoveries was that of a pranala , which is a discharge outlet attached to sanctum sanctorum in Hindu temples, on the northern wall of the structure.

Such a massive structure along with the pranala goes to show that it was a temple, he told the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer. He said the outlet may have been from a Shiv-ling installation.

But how do you connect the presence of pranala to the existence of a Shiv-ling, asked Justice Chandrachud.

That s how it is in temples, Vaidyanathan replied.

So is it guess work, Justice Bhushan asked.

No. Archeologists have to interpret their findings in context, Vaidyanathan replied.

The ASI report established that Babri Masjid was not built on vacant or agricultural land, but on land on which stood a massive structure dating at least as far back as 2nd century BC. This structure was not any small residential structure but a huge one providing access to public, he said.

It stood there till the Mughal period, he added.

Vaidyanathan said some of the materials recovered from the site were carbon-dated and the archeologists had conducted stratigraphy study of the site.

Justice Chandrachud pointed out that a grave was discovered during the digging and asked how this could be explained.

Vaidyanathan pointed to stra-tigraphy tests and said the grave belonged to a recent period .

Vaidyanathan submitted that there was nothing that shows it was a temple dedicated to Lord Ram but preponderance of probability would show that it was a temple for Lord Ram because it is the place believed to be Lord Ram s birthplace .

Suggestions that it was a Buddhist structure were put to the archeologist, Nagawswamy, but he had denied these, Vaidyanathan said.

He submitted that pillars and arches inside the demolished mosque bore images of Hindu gods and this discounts its claim as a valid mosque since Islamic law does not allow such imagery in mosques. Images of Krishna, Bala Rama (infant Ram), Shiv and motifs usually found in temples were discovered in Babri Masjid as early as 1950 when the court-appointed commissioner prepared a report after attachment, Vaidyanathan pointed out and said this belied the claim of it being a valid mosque.

It is very clear that despite claims of it being a mosque, so many structures of images which discount it being a mosque or valid mosque were found in it as early as 1950, he said.

Vaidyanathan referred to photographs of the site taken in 1990. But Justice Bhushan asked him to produce photographs taken in 1950 by court-appointed commissioner. Vaidyanathan said he will submit the same.