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ASI starts survey of Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque, to be completed by Aug 4

A team from Archaeological Survey of India has started a scientific survey of Varanasi's Gyanvapi mosque from today (Pic. Courtesy ANI)

A team of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) started a scientific survey of Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque this morning.  

The survey which began at 7 am will exclude the sealed “wuzukhana” area of the mosque where a structure that Hindu litigants claimed to be a ‘Shivling’ was found during an earlier survey in 2022.

The survey being carried out following an order passed by the Varanasi district court on Friday has to be completed by August 4.

However, the Supreme Court is likely to take up  a contempt petition moved by the Gyanvapi mosque management against the Varanasi court’s order for the ASI survey for hearing today

The ASI team reached Varanasi on Sunday with all the required equipment to carry out the survey.

Advocate Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi representing the Hindu side said,  “We are sure that the whole premise is of the temple only. The result of the survey will be favourable to us.”

The Varanasi district court order was passed on a plea filed by four women worshippers who claim the Gyanvapi mosque was built after razing an ancient Hindu temple and that a scientific study is needed to bring out the full facts.

While passing the order, the court held that the scientific investigation is “necessary” for the “true facts” to come out.

The same petitioners had filed the 2021 petition in the Gyanvapi matter, asking for year-long access to the “Shringar Gauri” shrine inside the mosque.

In May this year, the Supreme Court had deferred the “scientific survey”, including carbon dating, of the “Shivling” that was said to have been found at the Gyanvapi mosque complex during a videographic survey conducted last year.

The top court’s order had come days after Allahabad High Court directed the ASI to conduct a scientific survey of the structure that Hindu petitioners claimed is a “Shivling”. The Gyanvapi mosque authorities had said the structure is a part of a fountain in the “wazukhana”, where people perform ablutions before offering namaz.

In September last year, the Varanasi district judge had dismissed a challenge by the mosque committee that argued that the case by the women has no legal standing.

(With ANI inputs)