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Singhal claims proof of Ram temple at Ayodhya
Onkar Singh in New Delhi |
February 21, 2003 20:11 IST
Ashok Singhal, international working president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, declared on Friday that a laser survey done by two foreign companies had established the existence of an ancient Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
Singhal was addressing reporters in New Delhi at the end of the first session of informal discussions by 150 sants from various parts of the country.
"This survey was ordered by the honourable Allahabad high court," Singhal said. "After the Archaeological Survey of India expressed its inability to carry out excavations at the disputed site, the high court asked a foreign firm to do the work. Japanese and Canadian experts were called in to do this job. They conducted a laser survey and filed their report."
Singhal said the report clearly mentions that a temple existed at the disputed site. "Copies of the report have been made available to 26 parties to the dispute," he said. "One such copy lies with the Government of India as well."
Singhal denied that the VHP's dharam sansad (religious parliament) is in confrontation with the Supreme Court. "We are in confrontation with the Government of India, which, according to the 1994 Supreme Court verdict, was supposed to hand over 67 acres of undisputed land to the VHP for construction of the Ram Mandir," he said.
Asked about the options before the dharam sansad, Singhal said the sants are debating various options and a final decision will be announced at a public meeting in New Delhi on February 22 or 23. "Some of the issues before us include resorting to satyagraha, sitting on dharnas, holding public awareness rallies in the entire country, etc," he said.
Mahant Avaidyanath, a former member of Parliament, said the sadhu samaj (brotherhood of ascetics) is upset with the Government of India and has threatened that this dharam sansad could be the last of its kind.
"There is anger and resentment in the sant samaj. We expect the Government of India to hand over the undisputed land to us forthwith for construction of the Ram mandir," Avaidyanath told reporters.
Singhal claimed that the ASI had conducted an excavation at the site in 1978 under the supervision of B B Lal and recovered some pillars of an ancient temple. A report of this is with the Allahabad high court, he added.
Asked if the VHP would wait and see what happens during the hearing of the matter by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, Singhal said the VHP was not in the court. "The Government of India is in the court and they would have to see what happens," he said.
Singhal refused to give a clear answer when asked if he could give a date for the temple construction work to begin. "We would announce this at the Ram Lila Grounds on February 22 and 23," he said.