The government may be silent on it, but the demand for a Ram temple at Ayodhya has found support from within the newly constituted council of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).
“The Ram temple must be re-built at Ayodhya,” Saradindu Mukherjee, a member of the new council, told HT.
The underlying idea is that there was a Ram temple at Ayodhya that had been destroyed by medieval emperor Babur’s men and it needed to be rebuilt.
Two other members Meenakshi Jain and Nanditha Krishna recalled the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) claim that there was a structure beneath the Babri Masjid.
“The proceedings in the Allahabad High Court clearly demonstrate that the pro-Masjid group could not substantiate its original claim that the Masjid was built on vacant land,” Jain, who has written a book titled ‘Rama and Ayodhya’, said.
“As excavations by the ASI began to unveil a structure beneath the Masjid, the pro-Masjid group modified their stance and said an idgah or qanati mosque lay below the mosque. The court noted that this was the first time such a claim was being made,” she added.
She also said that no pro-Masjid group has been able to offer proper evidence of continuous namaz at the site, especially after the riots of 1934.
“Perhaps that was why the Sunni Central Waqf Board did not file a suit of possession; it instead sought a declaration on the status of the disputed premises,” she said.
Jain added, “The revenue records of the Nawabi and British periods and the list of Waqf properties published in the UP Gazette of 26 February 1944 showed that no Waqf had been created for Babri Masjid by Babur,” she said.
While leaving future decisions on the site to “local people” of Ayodhya, Krishna said, “There was a Ram temple at Ayodhya according to the Archaeological Survey of India’s reports and records.”