|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Din over report on Ayodhya excavation
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | May 29, 2003 21:22 IST
A cover story on the Ayodhya excavation, being carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India, in news magazine Outlook has stirred a hornet's nest.
The story, which provides information about the excavation site, has led the Sunni Central Waqf Board to question the impartiality of the ASI.
It has urged the three observers appointed by the Allahabad high court, which ordered the digging, to probe how details of the excavation were made available to the magazine, when media entry to the site was banned and the ASI was prohibited from divulging information.
"It was a clear violation of the Honourable High Court order dated March 5, 2003, which clearly disallowed anyone other than representatives of the contesting parties, their counsels, to have access to the excavation site, which was kept well covered under thick tarpaulins and curtain screens," said Zafaryab Jilani, the counsel for the board.
Jilani said the ASI had also given away a photo of a stone inscription found during the course of the digging.
"How else could the magazine publish the photograph if the ASI was not passing these on to the journalist," asked Jilani?
Inquiries from Ayodhya revealed that the entry register meant to make mention of every individual who steps inside the excavation site does not contain the name of the Outlook scribe who was understood to have been there.
The excavation was initiated on March 12 to find out whether a temple existed at the site where Mughal emperor Babar built the mosque, which was pulled down in 1992. It has to be completed within the June 15 deadline set by the court.
Last week, the high court had given marching orders to the ASI's B R Mani, who was heading the excavation team, following a complaint by the board alleging violation of norms.
More reports from Uttar Pradesh
Read about: Ayodhya Dispute | Madhumita Murder Case