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Ayodhya diggers go down 13 feet, but find nothing
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | March 30, 2003 02:59 IST
A fortnight of excavation has taken the Archaeological Survey of India's diggers 13 feet deep in one of the 10 trenches at the disputed Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.
Work on five trenches has been speeded up over the past five days, but is proceeding at snail's pace in the remaining five.
According to a witness, the diggers have gone down 8 feet and 11 feet in two trenches, and just about 8 feet in two others.
But the excavations in all these 4x4 metre trenches have so far yielded nothing of any substance.
The work began on March 12 on the order of a special bench of the Allahabad high court to try and establish whether a Hindu temple existed at the site before a general of the Mughal emperor Babur allegedly built the Babri Masjid in the 16th century.
The Sangh Parivar and its supporters believe the site to be the birthplace of Lord Ram and that a temple erected there was pulled down by Babur's commander.
The court had given the ASI a month to complete the task. But that period is likely to be extended when the ASI moves a fresh application before the court at its next sitting on April 8. Earlier this week, a plea made in this regard was termed premature by the court.
To speed up the work, the ASI has increased the number of labourers employed to 60. Following the court's directive, the ASI has also increased the number of Muslims in the team of diggers, which was earlier dominated by Hindus.
According to a former ASI official with long experience in such excavations, nothing worthwhile is likely to be found until the diggers go deeper than the foundation of the Babri Masjid. And that is still a long way off.
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