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Remove ASI head of Ayodhya excavations: Court
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | May 23, 2003 01:12 IST
The special Ayodhya bench of the Allahabad high court on Thursday ordered removal of R S Mani, the Archaeological Survey of India superintending archaeologist, heading the excavations at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
The three-judge bench comprising Judges Sudhir Narain, Rafat Alam and Bhanwar Singh directed the government to replace Mani as the head, in the wake of complaints of violation of excavation norms by the Sunni Central Waqf Board. The court, however, allowed Mani to be part of the team.
Waqf Board counsel Zafaryab Jilani, who is also the convenor of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, charged the ASI of 'tampering' with the articles found during the course of excavations.
Undertaken from March 12, 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 the 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. With subsequent extensions, the deadline for completing the excavations was fixed for June 15.
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