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High court extends Ayodhya excavation deadline to June 15
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | May 02, 2003 14:38 IST
A special bench of the Allahabad high court on Friday extended the deadline for completing the on going Ayodhya excavations to June 15.
"The Archaeological Survey of India will now have five more weeks in hand to complete the excavations and submit its report," a court official said.
The court responded to a request moved by the ASI for further extension of time set by the bench. Giving due consideration to ASI's plea, the court found valid reasons in extending the deadline by five more weeks with effect from May 10, when the last deadline was to expire.
Undertaken from March 12 in pursuance of the orders of this very court, the excavations were aimed at establishing whether a Hindu temple existed at the site before Mughal emperor Babur built the Babri Mosque in the 16th century. The court had given a month's time to ASI to complete the task. The time, however, was extended for four weeks after the ASI moved a fresh application before the court on April 8.
The three-judge special bench comprising Justice Sudhir Narain, Justice Rafat Alam and Justice Bhanwar Singh expressed satisfaction at the progress made by the ASI team. Digging has been going on some 20 trenches around the makeshift temple that sprung up immediately after the fall of the Babri Mosque.
"The digging team has gone as deep as 20 feet in some of the trenches," claimed Zafaryab Jilani, the counsel of the Sunni Central Waqf Board representing the Muslims. "I still wonder if all this exercise would lead to anything worthwhile," he added.
The Hindu claimants, however, looked quite enthusiastic. "We are happy with the pace of excavations and I am confident that there would be enough evidence in favour of the temple by June 15," said Madan Mohan Pandey, the counsel for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
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