Hindu-Muslim conflict over temple


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The bomb attack on Mumbai (Bombay) recently occurred at just the right moment to overshadow a crucial archaeological report, which aimed to settle disputes over a temple site that has – to a large extent – contributed to violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims.

Unfortunately, the archaeological dig wasn’t actually directed by archaeologists, but people with affiliations to a political party already implicated in the recent causes of the inter-faith disturbances.

Not only that, but clear indications of a possible Muslim source for the building remains excavated have been entirely ignored, to prefer an apparent clear political bias that seeks to demean Muslim claims for a temple on the site.

Pretty poor show, really:


Archaeologists renew controversy over Indian temple

The bitter dispute between Hindus and Muslims over a religious site at Ayodhya in northern India has been renewed by the release of a controversial new report by Indian state archaeologists.

But the report's publication on Monday was overshadowed by two bomb blasts in India's financial capital Mumbai that left 52 dead and 140 injured. It is not yet known if the two events are linked, but observers have pointed out that Mumbai was bombed before at a time of high tension over Ayodhya.

Ayodhya was the site of a 16th-century mosque.

This was demolished in 1992 by Hindu fundamentalists, who believe it was built over the ruins of a temple marking the birthplace of the Hindu God Rama. The mosque's destruction led to communal riots that killed over 2000 people and marked one of the darkest days in India's secular history.

In March, a court ordered the government-run Archaeological Survey of India to excavate a 9200-square-metre site in Ayodhya. The ASI report presents evidence of a massive monumental structure dating from the 11th to 16th century, as well as remains of temple artifacts.

But, far from settling the issue, the interpretation of these finds has fuelled further controversy.

Distinctive features

The summary of the 574-page ASI report suggests a Hindu temple probably did once exist. It concludes that "viewing in totality and taking into account the archaeological evidence of a massive structure just below the disputed structure" and evidence of lotus motifs, a mutilated sculpture of a divine couple, foliage patterns and 50 pillar bases, these are "indicative of remains which are distinctive features associated with the temples of north India".

ASI says a massive 50-by-30-metre structure with "at least three structural phases and three successive floors" and one or two huge halls with pillars existed in the 12th to 16th century AD. This structure was "different from residential structures" as it did not have hearths, wells, soakage pits or drains and was a place of public usage till the 16th century.

Some Hindu organisations interpret the findings as proof of a temple, but the Sunni Central Muslim Trust Board has denounced the ASI report as "vague" and "self-contradictory" and say that a massive structure does not necessarily mean a temple.

Noted archaeologist Suraj Bhan, from Kurukshettra University near Delhi, and historians at the Delhi University too are also concerned by the conclusions.

Lime plaster

Bhan, who visited the excavation site at Ayodhya, told New Scientist he had found the demolished mosque was built on an earlier structure whose walls and floor were made of bricks plastered with lime - a technique that was introduced in India by Muslim dynasties of the 12th century. "This is crucial evidence", he says, suggesting the underlying structure could have been a mosque and not a temple.

The presence of lime-plastered bricks was noted in progress reports filed by ASI, but is ignored in the final summary. This and other omissions, like the presence of a Muslim arch in the underlying structure, are likely to be challenged by archaeologists, historians and lawyers who have been given six weeks to file objections to the ASI report.

The excavations were controversial from the start, after a group of historians and archaeologists, including Bhan, questioned ASI's scientific competence and impartiality. ASI is not headed by a professional archaeologist and is funded by the federal government. The Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party are currently in power, some of whose members are charged with inciting or even participating in the mosque's demolition.

The group's criticism of ASI's progress and recording of evidence during the excavations led to a mid-course change of the team leader under a court order in June.

Nasty mess.

FWIW, the article writer makes one error: Rama is not, strictly speaking, a Hindu god, but rather the incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu, one of several. Translated into Western terms, this would be like problems with a mosque built on the site of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
i donno..when this hindu-muslim issue will solve... ppl are dying like anything coz of this !! this is really unhuman !!:mad:
can any one post more incidents realting hindu-musim conflicts...?
57 years passed still we both brothers are fighting ..? y ...?
godra , bombay blasts, oldcity crises( hyderabad AP) , Ayodhya, and many more...?

when will these all end...?