Buddhist group demands Babri Masjid site be declared archaeological site

Published : June 11, 2020 19:00 IST

Buddhist monks offering prayers in Bengaluru on May 7. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

The Karnataka Buddhist Society (KBS) has demanded that the site in Ayodhya where the proposed Ram Mandir is to be constructed be declared a Buddhist archaeological site.

In a letter to the President of India via the Karnataka Governor, it said that recent excavations revealed the remains of Buddhist structures at the site where the Babri Masjid stood before it was demolished in 1992.

Speaking to Frontline, KBS president H.R. Mahesh said: “The excavations have clearly revealed that a Buddhist structure was present at the site before the construction of the Babri Masjid in the 16th century. Buddhist sculptures have also been found at the site.” He added that the KBS wanted the site to be preserved as a “Buddhist archaeological space”.

According to the KBS letter, the first survey of the site, which was done in 1862-63 under the then director of the Archaeological Survey of India, Alexander Cunningham, declared it a Buddhist site.

The letter also said that the Chinese traveller Fa-Hien (also known as Faxian) visited India in the early fifth century and documented the existence of hundreds of Buddhist monasteries in Ayodhya.

It also mentioned that another Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsang (also known as Xuanzang), who visited the region in the seventh century, had documented the existence of a thousand Buddhist monasteries in the area.

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