NEW DELHI: While delivering its verdict, the Supreme Court observed that the 15th-century mosque demolished by kar sevaks in December 1992 was not built on vacant land.
Rather, its foundation was laid over portions of a large pre-existing structure of a Hindu-religious origin, dating back to the 12th century.
“The underlying structure, which provided the foundations of the mosque, together with its architectural features and recoveries are suggestive of a Hindu religious origin comparable to temple excavations in the region and pertaining to the era,” the five-judge bench noted.
The court drew the conclusions based on a report by the ASI, which carried out excavations at the site in August 2003 on the HC directions.
In its findings, the ASI had indicated that the structural remains and other relics recovered at the disputed site belong to Kushan, Gupta and post-Gupta periods and to Mughal and late-Mughal era.
During the excavation, the team found northern black polished ware (dating 6th to 3rd century BC), fragments of votive tanks, human and animal figurines, including terracotta idols of deities. More importantly, they found a Vishnu Hari inscription and decorated octagonal sandstone blocks on pillar base with a 12th-century floral motif.
K K Muhammed, a retired ASI official who was part of the team that conducted excavations at the site in 1975-76, said the pillar bases, a temple pranala, other architectural members — kalasha, amalka, shikhara — and an inscription declaring that the temple was dedicated to incarnation of Lord Vishnu were excavated from the site.
“Purna Lakash means foliage coming out of a vase, which is common in almost all 12th-13th-century temples. It is one of the eight auspicious symbols in Hinduism... It is not possible to get these things including idols from a mosque or a Muslim site,” he said.