Gyanvapi case: The Varanasi court on Friday granted eight more weeks to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to complete its scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in the Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh. The court also asked the ASI to submit its report after eight weeks.
Government counsel Rajesh Mishra told news agency PTI that district Judge A K Vishvesh dismissed the mosque management committee's objection and provided additional time to the ASI.
ASI is conducting scientific survey
The ASI is currently conducting a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises, which is located adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. The purpose of this survey is to ascertain whether the Gyanvapi mosque, which dates back to the 17th century, was built on top of a pre-existing structure that may have been a Hindu temple.
The survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises commenced following a ruling by the Allahabad High Court. The High Court upheld a previous order from a Varanasi district court, stating that the survey is "necessary in the interest of justice." This decision was made with the belief that the survey would be beneficial for both the Hindu and Muslim communities involved in the dispute over the site.
Varanasi court ordered ASI survey of Gyanvapi in July
In July, a Varanasi court had directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple here. The order was upheld by the Allahabad High Court. The survey of the mosque complex began on August 4 following court orders.
All about Gyanvapi case
Several petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court, Allahabad High Court and Varanasi Court alleging that the mosque was built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb by demolishing the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in the 16th century.
A Varanasi-based lawyer, Vijay Shankar Rastogi, had filed a petition in the lower court claiming illegality in the construction of the Gyanvapi mosque and sought an archaeological survey of the mosque. This came in December 2019 after the Supreme Court verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute.
The Varanasi court in April 2021 directed the ASI to carry out the survey and submit its report. However, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee that runs the Gyanvapi mosque contested the petition by Rastogi and also opposed the Varanasi court's order for a survey of the mosque.
The matter then reached the Allahabad High Court and after post-hearing all the parties involved, it ordered an interim stay on the direction to the ASI for conducting the survey. The high court in its order said that as per the Places of Worship Act, 1991, the law prohibits any change in the religious character of a place of worship from as it existed on August 15, 1947.
'Shivling found inside a reservoir on mosque complex'
In April, a Varanasi court ordered a video survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex after the petition. The Gyanvapi mosque survey was concluded on May 16. The Hindu side in the matter has claimed that a 'Shivling' was found inside a reservoir on the mosque complex during the survey. The Muslim side, however, dismissed the claim and said it was only a 'fountain'.
Parishad (VHP) and the RSS during the campaign for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya along with the Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid in Mathura. They claimed that all three mosques were built after demolishing Hindu temples.