ASI implementing 'saffron agenda': Historians

New Delhi, July 17 (UNI): A group of eminent historians and archaeologists today charged the Archaeological Survey of India (ASi) with implementing the ``saffron agenda'' of the RSS and said the premier body should be made answerable only to Parliament.

Addressing a press conference here after a round of deliberations this afternoon, the historians, including Irfan Habib and K M Shrimali, said there was an urgent need to isolate the ASI from direct subordination to the Government of the day.

``Several administrative lapses on the part of the ASI, including non-publication of annual reports for the past six years and non- convening of the advisory board of Archaeology for the past 12 years, are now being used by the Government of the day to pursue its agenda,'' Habib said.

While authentic reports were not being published by the ASI about the excavations carried out by it, undue publicity was being given informally to its ``findings'' in the media.

These included the ``discovery'' of gold ornaments ostensibly of the Harappan period in Muzaffarnagar in UP and also ``damaged'' Jain images from Fatehpur Sikri.

According to Habib, the ASI appeared to be following a twin agenda of ``Aryanisation'' of the Harappan civilisation by proving that the Harappan or Indus culture was actually based on the Sarasvati river mentioned in the Rig Veda, and also digging up monuments of the medieval period in search of artefacts in consonance with the RSS thinking.

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