The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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First finds in Ayodhya digging

Ayodhya, March 16: The excavation ordered by Allahabad High Court at the disputed site in Ayodhya today threw up a mouse-shaped stone and an earthen pot.

“The mouse-shaped stone and the pot have been videographed before being sealed by the ASI team,” said Ranjit Lal Verma, counsel for the Digambar Akhara, a party to the title suit pending in court since 1949.

The excavation in four trenches is proceeding slowly and work has been halted in four other trenches, marked J-1 to J-4, after the floor of the demolished mosque was spotted in the outer portion of the Ram chabutra (platform).

“On an average, each trench, in which the excavation is on, has been dug by 9 to 12 cm,” Verma said.

The Archaeological Survey of India has been set a March 24 deadline by the court to submit an interim report on the progress of the excavation as also all items recovered in the process.

In contrast to the snail’s pace of the excavation at the disputed site, Karsevakpuram, the epicentre of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s activities in Ayodhya, is teeming with volunteers.

Two days ago, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh volunteers had marched from Karsevakpuram to the disputed site for a darshan of the deity, raising the temperature and the decibels in the temple town.

The volunteers are now getting ready to receive VHP’s working president Ashok Singhal, who will arrive here tomorrow along with Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas president Ramachandradas Paramhans.

“With what mission Singhal is coming to Ayodhya is not known, but he has been frequenting Ayodhya at regular intervals,” VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma told reporters this evening.

“The only new thing in his visit is he is coming for the first time since the excavation process started at the disputed place,” he said.

Paramhans, away on a tour, will arrive here after an interval of several days.

Zafaryab Jilani, counsel for the Central Sunni Waqf Board, is unhappy with the course of events. He has already protested against anyone entering the disputed site while raising pro-temple or pro-mosque slogans.

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