The trust formed to oversee the building of a Ram temple at the once-disputed land in Ayodhya has claimed to have found ancient artifacts and a Shivling near the proposed construction site. The Archaeological Survey of India has not yet commented on the matter.

File photo of brick carvings at Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas Karyashala in Ayodhya (Photo Credits: PTI)

Members of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Trust are claiming to have found “ancient” artifacts under the once-disputed site in Ayodhya.

The Trust tasked by the Centre with the construction of a Ram temple at the site, claims, “A 4-foot-long Shivling, 7 black touchstone pillars and 6 red sandstone pillars were among the items found at the proposed site of construction during land levelling work.”

General secretary of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Trust, Champat Rai said that this leveling work has been going on for the past 10 days. “Found a Shivling there & a similar one at Kuber Teela,” Champat Rai told one news agency.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the government agency which is part of the Ministry of Culture and is the apex authority on excavation, research, conservation and preservation of cultural monuments, is yet to issue an official statement regarding this recent development. Anuj Kumar Jha, the District Magistrate and Collector of Ayodhya is also yet to comment on the findings.

Chairman of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Trust, former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, Nripendra Misra had made his first official visit to the proposed site for the construction of a temple on February 29 of this year. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had shifted the idol of Lord Ram on a 9.5 kg silver throne at a new structure on March 5 in order to allow the construction of the proposed temple to begin.

April 2, the original date of commencement of construction was deferred owing to the novel coronavirus outbreak but land-levelling work was carried out after the district administration permitted the same about 10 days ago. In November of 2019, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India had ruled in favour of the construction of a temple at the site, on which the Babri Masjid once stood.

(With inputs from Kumar Abhishek) has plenty of useful resources that can help you better understand the coronavirus pandemic and protect yourself. Read our comprehensive guide (with information on how the virus spreads, precautions and symptoms), watch an expert debunk myths, and access our dedicated coronavirus page.
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