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ASI team to reach Ayodhya on Sunday
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | March 09, 2003 02:54 IST
A team of the Archaeological Survey of India will arrive in Ayodhya on Sunday to begin preliminary work for the excavation at the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site, in pursuance of the order of the special bench of the Allahabad high court.
"The team is headed by archaeologist R S Bisht, who was director (investigations) at the ASI headquarters in New Delhi," according to a senior official.
He said, "The advance party will carry out mapping of the area… our experts are already in the process of arranging the equipment required for the excavations."
The equipment is likely to be airlifted to Ayodhya over the next four or five days.
The excavation is likely to shed light on whether a temple existed at the site before the Babri Masjid was built in the 16th century.
Last month, a deep penetration radar survey by a Canadian company had provided enough clues about the existence of some structures 10 to 15 feet underground.
The structures, according to the survey, belong to different periods.
ASI officials are also getting in touch with the Lucknow-based Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleaobotany to get technical assistance for carbon dating of the material discovered during the excavation, which will be completed within a month.
Local officials in Ayodhya are now in a quandary over the question of security at the disputed site. Their challenge is to ensure security amidst the excavations without disturbing the flow of devotees to the makeshift temple that stands on the debris of the mosque.
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