"It is most unfortunate that a masjid should have been built on land held sacred by the Hindus. But, as that event occurred 356 years ago, it is too late now to remedy the grievance. All that can be done is to maintain status quo."
—F.E.A. Chamier, Faizabad district judge, dismissing the first Hindu claim over the Babri Masjid (Mar 18, 1886).
Digging around the disputed site in Ayodhya, the nervous team of specialists from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has just about managed to clear the rubble and unearth the 'original floor' of the area between the inner and outer courtyard right next to the site of the demolished mosque. That's the only progress three days after the excavation started. What has been unearthed so far is on expected lines—a garnet stone, an ornamental shell and some bricks marked 1924. And, of course, the rubble of the Babri Masjid demolished on December 6, 1992.
The area near the Ram Chabutra, which is not part of the disputed area, is also being excavated. The devotees thronging the makeshift Ram Lalla temple, where the...