The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Error boost to ASI sceptics

Lucknow, Oct. 10: The Archaeological Survey of India has disclosed in court a “printing mistake” in its Ayodhya excavation report, which was held up by Muslim litigants as evidence of the central agency’s bias.

The survey moved Allahabad High Court’s special Lucknow bench, hearing the Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, to make minor amendments to its August 22 report.

The application before the bench of Justices S.R. Alam, Bhanwar Singh and Khem Karan said the statue of a “divine couple” reported found in trenches K-3 and K-4 were actually found from F-3 and F-4.

The survey said the “printing mistake” was unintentional and also sought the court’s permission to take back negatives of the photographs of excavation for indexing.

Though survey officials claimed the mistakes were “not prejudicial to the claims of the parties (concerned)”, Muslim litigants contested this.

“We have already submitted our objections against the ASI report to the court and stick to our stand that it is not only inauthentic but manipulated and biased,” Central Sunni Waqf Board counsel Zafaryab Jilani said.

The Waqf board filed its objections yesterday and urged the high court to reject the ASI report “totally” as it was not backed by “authentic scientific or historical evidence”.

While allowing the survey to submit its proposed changes, the high court gave three weeks for objections, if any, to be filed against the Waqf board’s submission.

Court leash on VHP

Allahabad High Court today restricted the Vishwa Hindu Parishad from disturbing the “status quo in Ayodhya”, simplifying matters for Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Disposing off applications seeking an injunction on the proposed Ayodhya march on October 17, the Lucknow bench today got an undertaking that the VHP would not violate the Supreme Court order prohibiting any activity in and around the acquired land.

The order — in the context of the VHP’s recent offensive against the BJP and the Centre — has given Mulayam a chance to get tough with the Hindutva brigade without re-enacting the role he played in 1990 when state police shot down kar sevaks trying to climb atop the Babri mosque.

Uttar Pradesh police today arrested over 300 Shiv Sena activists planning to descend on Ayodhya tomorrow for a sammelan of Ram bhakts.

Earlier, the state rejected the application for the meet and imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 till October 30.

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