On Thursday, a Varanasi court ordered the Gyanvapi mosque survey to be completed and the report presented by May 17. The order was issued one day after the hearing in the petition to remove the court-appointed advocate commissioner in charge of the survey was completed.
“The court has ordered a complete survey and presentation of a detailed report on May 17, the next date of hearing in the case,” one of the petitioners’ lawyers, Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi, said. The district administration has been ordered by the court not to postpone the survey by inventing an excuse.
According to the court, the survey will most likely begin the day after tomorrow. “The court has ordered that the entire Gyanvapi complex be surveyed. The mosque survey and its findings will be conducted,” the lawyer said.
“The court denied the petition filed by the Anzuman Intezamia Masajid Committee to remove advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar,” Chaturvedi said. The advocate commissioner has been replaced by another lawyer, Vishal Kumar Singh. Assistant Advocate Commissioner Ajai Pratap Singh has been appointed.
The court ordered that the commissioner’s proceedings be conducted jointly by advocate commissioner Ajai Kumar Mishra and special advocate commissioner Vishal Singh. In the event that Mishra is unable to conduct the survey, Vishal Singh will take over. If Singh is unavailable, Ajai Mishra will take over.
The videography and inspection of the Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal and the adjacent Gyanvapi mosque premises are part of the survey.
One of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee’s advocates, Abhay Yadav, said, “I just got a copy of the order in the mail. I’ll thoroughly examine the order. I only saw the order on the surface. The order does not meet our expectations. We’ll discuss our strategy with the panel’s advocates and look for a legal way to challenge the order. Then we’ll put it to the test.”
Ravi Kumar Diwakar, a Civil Judge (Senior Division) in Varanasi, ordered videography of the Shringar Gauri temple in the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi mosque complex and other locations after Eid and before May 10 on April 26. The court stated in its order that videography of the mosque premises could take place between May 6 and 7.
The Anjuman Intejamiya Masjid (Gyanvapi mosque) managing committee, however, has condemned the court’s decision, stating that no one will be allowed to enter the site for survey or videography. “We will not allow anyone to enter the mosque for the purpose of filming or conducting a survey.
In the current case, Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas, and Rekha Pathak of Delhi had filed a lawsuit by Advocate Hari Shankar Jain on April 18, 2021, seeking permission to worship and perform rituals at Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman, and Nandi on a daily basis, as well as preventing opponents from damaging the statues. It says no waqf can be created over the property belonging to and vested in the deity. A mosque can be constructed only on waqf property.
The petitioners claimed that the Gyanvapi Masjid was built on orders of Mughal king Aurangzeb in the 17th century by removing a portion of the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir.
The Gyanvapi mosque’s management committee will appeal the court’s decision.
The suit prayed that Plaintiffs are entitled to have Darshan, Pooja and perform all the rituals of Maa Sringar Gauri, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman and other visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex and restrain the member of the Masjid committee from imposing any restriction, creating any obstacle, hindrance or interference in the performance of daily Darshan, Pooja, Aarti, Bhog and observance of rituals by devotees of Goddess Maa Sringar Gauri at Asthan of Lord Adi Visheshwar along with Lord Ganesh, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman, Nandiji and other visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex and practice their right to religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the constitution.
In December 2019, a month after the Supreme Court’s decision on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi controversy, Advocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi filed a new petition on behalf of the Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar seeking an archaeological assessment of the Gyanvapi mosque.
In 1998, the Allahabad High Court ordered that evidence be collected from the entire Gyanvapi complex in order to determine the site’s religious character, but the lower court’s decision was postponed.
This decision will be opposed constitutionally,” the joint secretary of the managing committee SM Yasin said after the court order.
Bansal slammed the mosque management committee, accusing them of disobeying the court order or having something on the premises that they are afraid will be ‘exposed.’
“Do you have any weapons in the mosque? This is a serious situation. I’m hoping the court will take notice of the situation “Bansal urged the state government to keep a close eye on the situation.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad chastised the managing committee of the Gyanvapi mosque for refusing to allow videography and a survey by a court-appointed commissioner on its premises and questioned what was hidden inside.
“What is it that you (mosque management committee) want to hide? This (the Gyanvapi mosque) is not a restricted area for the court,” he further added.
The RSS-affiliated group also called the Anjuman Intejamiya Masjid’s decision to close the mosque in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, “contempt of court,” and suggested that the state government keep “a close eye” on it.
“Did you keep any weapons in the mosque?” Bansal, a VHP leader, approached the mosque’s management with his request. With his statement, he also accused Yasin of “inciting” people to engage in violence.
“This is a serious situation. “I hope the court will take notice of the situation,” said the VHP leader.
The state government should also “keep a close eye on such people and organisations, and take the strongest possible action against those who undermine the country’s law and order and judicial systems in this way.”