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Varanasi court allows scientific ASI survey of Gyanvapi mosque complex

Gyanvapi mosque complex

A Varanasi Court has given directions to conduct an ASI survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex , excluding the Wazu tank which has been sealed, Vishnu Shankar Jain, who represents the Hindu side in the case, said on Friday.

The court pronounced its order on a petition filed by the Hindu side seeking direction for a “scientific survey” of the entire Gyanvapi mosque premises by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

“I have been informed that my application has been approved… I think the survey can be completed within 3 to 6 months,” Jain said.

Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi, who also represents the Hindu side in the Gyanvapi case, said, “Our application for the ASI survey has been accepted. It’s a turning point in the case.”

The Hindu side had submitted a petition letter in the Varanasi court asking for an ASI study of the entire complex of the Gyanvapi mosque located in Vishwanath temple.

Advocates and supporters of the Hindu side are hopeful and eagerly waiting for the Court’s verdict on the petition.

The court completed arguments on a petition last Friday.

The petition was filed in May this year by five women who in another plea had earlier sought permission to pray at the “Shringar Gauri Sthal” inside the shrine complex. A structure — claimed to be a “Shivling” on one side and a “fountain” on the other side — was found on the mosque premises.

The survey will exclude the Wazukhana that has the ‘Shivling’ like structure. That area has been sealed and the matter is in the Supreme Court. The Muslim side is likely to challenge this order before the Allahabad High Court

Vishnu Shankar Jain, had said on July 14 that they kept our point in front of the court.

“Honourable Supreme Court on May 21 gave judgment in our favour.. we kept our viewpoint in front of the district court seeking an investigation of the site by ASI… Let us wait for the court’s order.”

Earlier on July 6, Hindu petitioners in the Gyanvapi case urged the Supreme Court to hear at the earliest a petition challenging Allahabad High Court’s order directing the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a “scientific survey”, including carbon dating, of a “Shivling” said to have been found at the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi during a video graphics survey last year.

Petitioners wrote a letter to the Registrar of the Supreme Court stating that the case was listed before the apex court on May 19, 2023, when it had deferred the implementation of the directions till July 6, 2023.

The Supreme Court had earlier put on hold the carbon dating of the “Shivling” saying that the implementation of the directions contained in the Allahabad High Court’s order shall stand deferred till the next date of hearing.

Allahabad High Court allowed the scientific survey of the “Shivling” in the premises of the Gyanvapi complex under the supervision and direction of District Judge, Varanasi.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and KV Viswanathan had deferred the “scientific survey” saying, “Since the implications of the impugned order merit closet scrutiny, the implementation of the directions concerned in the order shall stand deferred till the next date.”

The bench had also issued notice to the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government on the appeal of the Gyanvapi mosque management committee against the High Court’s order for scientific investigation by ASI to determine the age of “Shivling”.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Gyanvapi mosque management committee, had told the bench that the carbon dating and the survey will commence soon.

Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh, had submitted that there should be no damage to the structure which one side claims a “Shivling” and the other calls a fountain.

Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, appearing for the Hindu petitioners in the case, said that experts of the ASI have already informed that no damage will be caused to the structure.

During the survey, a structure — claimed to be a “Shivling” by the Hindu side and a “fountain” by the Muslim side — was found in the mosque premises on May 16 last year during a court-mandated survey of the mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

The High Court on May 12 set aside the Varanasi District judge’s order which had rejected the application for a scientific survey and carbon dating of the “Shivling” on October 14, 2022.

The High Court had directed the Varanasi District judge to proceed, in accordance with the law, on the application by the Hindu worshippers for conducting a scientific probe of the “Shivling”.

Petitioners Laxmi Devi and three others had filed a plea in the High Court, challenging the order of the lower court.