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Supreme Court permits cleaning of water tank in Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi

The survey, mandated by the Varanasi district court, excludes the "wazukhana," a reservoir for ritual ablutions, within the mosque complex. A prior Supreme Court ruling protected this particular spot from being included in the survey.

Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 Varanasi Published on: January 16, 2024 16:09 IST
Gyanvapi mosque complex
Image Source : PTI/FILE PHOTO Varanasi: Members of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) team conduct a scientific survey at the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi.

The Supreme Court approved on Tuesday a plea presented by Hindu women plaintiffs seeking permission to clean the water tank within the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi. The area in question had been previously sealed. Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, along with Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, directed the cleaning process under the supervision of the Varanasi district magistrate.

Dead fish prompt a cleaning request

The court's decision was influenced by Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, who requested authorisation to clean the tank, citing the presence of dead fish.

Acknowledgement of similar plea

The Supreme Court also highlighted a parallel plea submitted by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, the mosque's management body, currently under consideration by a Varanasi trial court.

Background of archaeological survey

In July of the previous year, the Varanasi district court had instructed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a "detailed scientific survey," which included excavations as needed. The purpose was to ascertain whether the mosque, positioned adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, was constructed atop a temple.

Historical context and dispute

The contentious site in Varanasi has been at the center of a historical and religious dispute. Hindu activists contend that a temple existed on the premises before being demolished during the 17th century on the orders of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The ongoing legal proceedings aim to uncover the historical veracity surrounding the Gyanvapi mosque complex.

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