The archaeological survey findings played a crucial part in the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya dispute

File photo of the Supreme CourtIANS
  • The Supreme Court pronounced the historic Ayodhya verdict today.
  • The Hindus get to keep the land of dispute and build a temple, while the Muslims get a 5 acre land within Ayodhya to build a mosque.
  • The SC cited the findings of Archaeological Survey of India in its verdict.
The evidence from Archaeological Survey of India played a crucial part in the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya dispute, where the judges allowed the construction of a temple for Lord Rama and ordered that the government must give the Muslims a separate 5-acre site for the construction of a mosque.

While it cited ASI findings, the SC also said that the title for the disputed property cannot be based solely on the report.

The archaeological findings in Ayodhya didn't prove the existence of Lord Rama, or even the existence of a Hindu temple beneath the Babri Masjid. They only exposed the holes in the arguments of the Muslim side, particularly, the Waqf Board.

Babri Masjid was not built on vacant land

According to the judgement the discovery of structures and articles showed evidence of continuous public use of the disputed land starting from the Gupta era to the early medieval Rajput era through the Delhi Sultanate era up until the construction of the mosque in the 16th century.

This finding helped debunk the claim by Muslims, particularly the Sunni Waqf Board, that the Babri Masjid was built on a vacant piece of land. At that juncture, the counsel for the Muslim side went back on the earlier claim, and insisted that the underlying structure was an Idgah⁠— an open space used for Id prayers.

The change in stance from the Waqf Board brought the argument to a point where the court had to decide whether the underlying structure was an Islamic or non-Islamic. The court eventually decided that it was non-Islamic, based on the ASI report.

However, while the Supreme Court clearly dismissed the presence of an Islamic structure, it didn’t confirm a Hindu temple too.

“The possible linkages of Buddhist or Jain traditions cannot be excluded. Indeed, in assessing archaeological or historical material one must eschew a unidimensional view. The excavation in the present case does in fact suggest a confluence of civilisations, cultures and traditions," said the order.

Against the Allahabad HC verdict

The Supreme Court’s order also quashed the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict by Justice SU Khan. Justice Khan had discarded the ASI findings to say that,

  • firstly, there was evidence of continuity in structural phases from the tenth Century onward upto the construction of the disputed structure is directly in conflict with the pleadings, gazetteers and history books
  • secondly, that in the case a temple had been demolished for constructing a mosque, the super structure of the temple would not have gone inside the ground
But the SC called the first argument ‘specious’ and the second one ‘pure conjecture’.

Historians’ report debunked

The Supreme Court also dismissed a report “Babri Mosque or Rama‘s Birth Place? Historians‘ Report to the Indian Nation” released by four historians in 1991. The report said that there is no basis to prove that the site of Babri Masjid is the birthplace of Lord Rama, and that the pillar carvings in the mosque do not bear any relation to a Vaishnavite among other claims.

The SC went on to say in its verdict that the historians didn’t have the ASI material assessed by them and thus the 1991 report doesn’t carry any weight.

See Also:
Hindus get the disputed site in Ayodhya for a Ram Temple-- that and other top highlights from the Supreme Court verdict
Supreme Court ensured that the Ayodhya verdict can’t be used to take over land by citing faith
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