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Gyanvapi Masjid case: Video survey concludes on third day; report in Varanasi court tomorrow

Gyanvapi Mosque is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. The survey is being done at the behest of a local court.

Bhasker Mishra Reported by: Bhasker Mishra New Delhi Updated on: May 16, 2022 11:43 IST
Gyanvapi Masjid complex survey, videography
Image Source : PTI

Varanasi: Security personnel stand guard during a videographic survey at Gyanvapi Masjid complex

Highlights

  • Officials said the major part of the exercise was completed on the second day of the survey
  • The videography survey was earlier stalled amid objections by the mosque management committee
  • The committee claimed the advocate commissioner did not have the mandate to film inside the premises

Gyanvapi Masjid News, Gyanvapi Mosque Survey: A court-mandated videography survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Varanasi, which began for the third consecutive day on Monday amid tight security, has been concluded. 

"After working for over two hours, the court commission concluded its work on Monday at around 10.15 am. All parties were satisfied with the work," Varanasi District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma told reporters.

Till Sunday, around 65 per cent of the survey was completed.

The Gyanvapi Masjid is located adjacent to the famed Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. It shares a boundary wall with the temple.

The survey was done after an order by the Varanasi district court on a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols on its outer walls.

On Sunday, the DM had said that the survey work on Monday will begin at 8 am and all the parties have been directed to remain present. "About 65 per cent of the survey work has been completed. The survey will continue on Monday as well. This is completely an archaeological survey work, since the advocates were not familiar with the survey work, the work took some time," Madan Mohan Yadav, the counsel for the Hindu side in the case, had said on Sunday.

Court's order 

The survey was stalled last week amid objections by the mosque committee, which claimed that the advocate commissioner appointed by the court for the survey did not have the mandate to film inside the premises. 

In his order on Thursday last, District Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar had turned down a plea by the mosque committee to replace Ajay Kumar Mishra, who was appointed advocate commissioner by the court to survey the Gyanvapi-Gauri Shringar complex. The judge also appointed two more advocates to help the court commissioner with the survey and said it should be completed by Tuesday.

The district court had said that locks should be broken if the keys are not available to access certain areas of the complex for the survey. It also asked district authorities to register FIRs if the survey was not allowed.

The Supreme Court had on Friday last refused to grant an interim order of status quo on the survey. The top court, however, agreed to consider listing the plea of a Muslim party against the survey. Advocate Yadav had said the three court-appointed advocate commissioners, five lawyers each from the two sides and an assistant besides a videography team will carry out the survey.

Gyanvapi Masjid Case

Petitions were filed in a local court in Varanasi in August 2021 seeking permission for daily darshan and poojan at Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal. The court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) of Varanasi, Ravi Kumar Diwakar, had on April 26 this year ordered videography by the advocate commissioner of the temple in the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi mosque complex and other places after Eid. 

The court had appointed advocate Ajai Kumar to conduct a survey and inspection. The court had asked the advocate commissioner to submit a report before the next hearing on May 10. 

According to the court's directions, videography and survey were to be conducted inside the mosque premises on May 6 and 7. The court had said that besides the advocate commissioner and parties, one associate can remain present during the proceedings. When the survey team arrived at the mosque on May 6, the members had to face massive protests by the Muslims who opposed the court's order. The survey was done amid tight security on the first day. However, the exercise was halted by the administration temporarily on the next day owing to protests. 

According to Muslims, the advocate commissioner had tried to get videography done inside the Gyanvapi mosque without orders. The counsel for the mosque management committee had earlier contended that the court had not given any order to do the videography inside the mosque but to do it only till the 'chabutra' (courtyard) outside the barricades enclosing the mosque area.

Also Read | Gyanvapi mosque case: Owaisi sparks controversy, says 'won't let you to take another mosque' | Video

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