Gyanvapi Mosque survey put on hold till Wednesday following Supreme Court’s direction

Gyanvapi. Photo caption A file picture of Police personnel deployed at the survey site of Gyanvapi in Varanasi in May last year. UNI


New Delhi/Varanasi/IBNS: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the district court order of conducting a survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at Varanasi’s Gyanvapi Mosque until 5 pm on Wednesday.

The mosque’s management committee had approached the centre with apprehensions that the survey may lead to excavation at the historic mosque complex that is located right next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi, reports NDTV.

However, the Centre assured that the survey would not alter the structure.

Heavy security arrangements were made in the city for the survey.

On July 21, the Varanasi district court ordered the ASI to undertake a ‘scientific survey’ of the Gyanvapi mosque complex and submit a report by Aug 4.

District Court Judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha came up with the order after hearing the arguments of the counsels from the Hindu and Muslim sides.

Special Government Counsel Rajesh Mishra earlier said the court ordered the ASI to survey the Gyanvapi complex, excluding the Wazookhana that was sealed after a Shivling-like structure was found there last year.

The court had ordered that the report will be submitted by August 4 and put up for further proceedings on the same day.

It may be noted that four women plaintiffs had earlier moved an application before the court with the prayer that the Director of ASI is directed to undertake a scientific investigation, survey and excavation at the property in question, excluding the areas sealed under the orders of the SC.

It was prayed by the plaintiffs that a glorious, magnificent temple of Lord Shiva existed at the site in question which was destroyed by invaders.

“Aurangzeb, one of the Mughal Emperors issued Farman in 1669 AD to demolish the temple of Adivisheshwar at Varanasi and in pursuance of the said command issued by the ruler, his subordinates demolished the aforesaid temple and informed him regarding compliance of his order,” the application reads.

The counsels of the Muslim side had earlier objected to the scientific survey of the Gyanvapi complex by the ASI, stating that the excavation inside the complex may damage the structures.