The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bias slur on Ayodhya team

Lucknow, March 15: Minority community leaders today reacted strongly to the Sangh parivar’s efforts to communalise the Ayodhya excavation, demanding that their community get equal representation in the digging workforce and indicated that they would approach Allahabad High Court and the director-general of the Archaeological Survey on India, which is conducting the excavation on the court’s order, on the issue.

Central Sunni Waqf Board advocate Zafaryab Jilani said there was no member of the minority community among the 52 labourers chosen to assist the ASI team. He also pointed out the 14-member ASI team had only one member from the community.

Jilani’s tough posturing is believed to be a reaction to the RSS show on Thursday — there was no excavation yesterday because of Moharram — when hundreds of Bajrang Dal activists, shouting pro-temple slogans, marched to the disputed site for a darshan of Ram Lalla.

The board demanded equal representation for the minority community in the excavation workforce and also laid down norms for the digging. Not more than two trenches should be dug at a time and each trench should have an equal representation from the two communities, it said.

In a letter to ASI team leader B.R. Mani, Jilani said they also wanted a change in the composition of the ASI team. “We will ask the court as well as the director-general of ASI to ensure proportional representation of Muslim archaeologists in the team,” Jilani said.

“Special care should be taken (to ensure) that nobody should try to surcharge the atmosphere on the issue and offenders should be arrested,” Jilani added.

Nobody should be allowed to go for darshan at the disputed site while raising slogans about the disputed structure, clarified the waqf board advocate.

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