Ban construction at excavated site, ASI tells court (Lead)

July 25th, 2012 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Wednesday asked the Delhi High Court not to allow any activity or construction at the purported excavated mosque site near Jama Masjid.

The ASI also told the court that the protection of the site should be the responsibility of the Delhi Police.

The court last week put a stop on construction work at the site at Subhash Park and asked the ASI to investigate if the Akbarabadi Masjid, whose ruins were being claimed to have been found there, did exist or not.

The ASI said that it would start the investigation after the monsoon. “There is a possible threat to the excavation process due to water collection.”

The court asked the parties involved in the case to maintain harmony and follow the its order till the time ASI submitted its report.

During the hearing, police told the court that area legislator Shoaib Iqbal, who started construction on the site, should be directed not to create any tension.

Standing counsel (criminal) appearing for police, Pawan Sharma, said: “We are complying with the high court order. But Shoaib Iqbal be directed not to create any tension in the area.”

A special bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Rajiv Shakdher reserved its order in the case.

During the hearing, the special bench observed that if the ASI felt that more area needed to be excavated it could do so.

“Some area is excavated, if the ASI feel some more area is to be excavated they can do excavate more area to investigate the matter,” the court observed.

The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM), a political outfit, which filed an intervening application in the case asked court remove the construction at the site, where a mosque was being built by some area residents.

The ABHM urged the court for a direction to demolish the mosque coming up over the Subhash Park site and permit the construction of a temple there.

“Only Hindu, Jain temple or a gurdwara can be allowed to be built there. Some articles had been planted after removing relics of Hindus and Jains,” ABHM vice president S.S. Omji told the court.

He asked the court to appoint a sitting or a retired judge of the high court to look into the matter. To this, the court said it will consider this aspect.

The court said that the scientific analysis by the ASI will continue and said that “we are binding parties concerned till the time report of the ASI comes up”.

Thousands of Muslims offered Friday prayers near the site claiming that the building remains found at the excavated site were ruins of a Mughal-era mosque.

The building’s remains were discovered early this month during Delhi Metro work.

Some people from the area claimed that the remains were those of the 17th century Mughal-era Akbarabadi mosque and started building a fresh structure at the site but the court put a stop to it.

Following the court order, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and police cordoned off the area and handed over the site to the ASI.

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