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'Disputed site is Ramjanmabhoomi'

'Disputed site is Ramjanmabhoomi'

Author: Vinay Krishna Rastogi
Publication: Mid-Day
Date: May 21, 2002

The disputed site in Ayodhya is the Janmabhoomi (birthplace) of Lord Ram, and a temple was destroyed by Mughal Emperor Babar to build a mosque at the site, archaeologist and historian Dr Swaraj Prakash Gupta told the Allahabad High Court yesterday.

Dr Gupta said he had reached this conclusion after a detailed study of archaeological discoveries, inscriptions found during excavations, epigraphy and paleography.

Dr Gupta was cross-examined yesterday by Zafaryab Jilani, counsel for the Sunni Central Waqf Board which is defendant number four in suit number five of 1989 (Bhagwan Sri Ram Lalla Virajman versus others).

During cross-examination, Jilani told court that in his examination-in-chief in a case before the Additional District Judge of Gautam Buddha Nagar, Dr Gupta had claimed to be a noted archaeologist and historian.

His qualifications submitted in that court ran into five pages, Jilani said and expressed his doubts about Dr Gupta's qualifications. Dr Gupta holds three degrees: MA, PhD and DLit.

When Jilani asked the archaeologist if he was associated with the two excavations done by Dr B B Lal, former director of the Archaeological Survey of India, Dr Gupta admitted he was not part of Dr Lal's team but had gone to Ayodhya three times out of curiosity.

Dr Gupta told the court that he had written the books 'Ayodhya: History and Archaeology' and 'New Archaeological Discoveries'. In these, he had written in detail about the excavations and findings before and after demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Dr Gupta made it clear that he himself had not done any excavation but had taken a keen interest in excavations done by Dr B B Lal.

Replying to another question, Dr Gupta denied he was well-versed with Sanskrit.

The witness will today be cross-examined before Officer on Special Duty S I Siddiqui as the three-judge full bench will be busy with other matters and special commissioner Narendra Prasad too will be on leave.


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