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Archeological Survey of India submits Gyanvapi survey report in Varanasi court, next hearing on December 21

The ASI carried out the scientific survey of the Gyanvapi premises, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, to determine whether the 17th-century mosque was constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple

PTI Varanasi Published 18.12.23, 03:34 PM
Gyanvapi mosque

Gyanvapi mosque File

The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) Monday submitted a survey report in a sealed cover on the Gyanvapi mosque complex in the district court, which scheduled the next hearing for December 21.

Advocate Madan Mohan Yadav, who is representing the Hindu petitioners, said, "The report in sealed cover was placed before the court by the ASI's standing counsel Amit Srivastava." The survey was ordered by the court after the petitioners claimed the 17th-century mosque was constructed over a pre-existing temple.

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Four senior officials of the ASI were also present in the court when the report was submitted. The ASI was given multiple extensions to complete the survey.

Yadav said, "The court has fixed December 21 to open the sealed report and submit its copies to the advocates of either side. The Muslim side made a plea before the court to not make the survey report public. We countered this plea by requesting the court to make it public." The ASI carried out the scientific survey of the Gyanvapi premises, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, to determine whether the mosque was constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple.

The survey was carried on the direction of the district court's July 21 order that mentioned the need to survey beneath the mosque's domes, the cellars and the western wall.

It said the ASI should also examine the plinth and pillars to determine the age and nature of the building. The court had asked the ASI to ensure that there is no damage to the structure standing on the disputed land .

The court also ordered the Director of ASI to conduct a detailed scientific investigation by using GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey, dating method and other modern techniques.

The July 21 direction was on a plea filed by a group of women seeking the right of regular worship of sculptures of Hindu deities on the mosque's outer wall.

The mosque's 'wazu khana' (used by people for ritual ablutions before offering namaz), where a structure claimed by Hindu litigants to be a 'shivling' exists, will not be part of the survey, the lower court had said, following an earlier Supreme Court order protecting the spot.

The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid committee had challenged the district court's order in the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court. The appeal was dismissed by both the courts paving way for the survey to begin on August 4. The Supreme Court, however, had asked the ASI not to carry out any invasive act during the survey, thus ruling out any excavation.

On December 11, the Varanasi district court gave one more week to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to submit a scientific survey report of the Gyanvapi mosque complex here. This is the sixth time that the court has granted an extension to the ASI to file its survey report.

Earlier, extension were granted on September 6, October 5, November 2, November 17 and November 30.

The ASI started the survey in the barricaded area of the Gyanvapi premises, excluding its sealed section, on August 4. On November 30, the district court had asked the ASI to submit the survey report by December 11.

In its application, the ASI had stated that its experts are working on various types of data collected by archaeologists, surveyors and other experts, and assimilation of information generated by different experts and different tools is a difficult and slow process and it will take some more time to complete the report for final submission.

On November 2, the ASI told the court it had "completed" the survey but may take some more time to compile the report, along with the details of the equipment used in the survey work.

The court then granted additional time till November 17 for submitting the document. But, its counsel again sought 15 more days due to the non-availability of the technical report and the district judge then asked it to submit its report by November 28.

On October 5, the court granted four more weeks to the ASI and said the duration of the survey would not be extended beyond this.

The survey had begun after the Allahabad High Court upheld the Varanasi district court order and ruled that the step was "necessary in the interest of justice" and would benefit both the Hindu and Muslim sides in the dispute.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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