Gyanvyapi mosque: Court rejects plea seeking ASI survey inside wazukhana

Allahabad High Court allowed the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi.
| Photo Credit: ANI

A district court in Varanasi on Saturday rejected a plea that sought a direction to the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to undertake a survey of the wazukhana (ablution pond) area, except for the ‘Shivling’ inside, within the Gyanvapi mosque without causing any damage to the structure.

District court judge Ajaya Krishna Vishvesha maintained that the survey of the wazukhana may amount to a violation of Supreme Court’s May 17, 2022 order.

On May 16, 2022, a the Varanasi court had ordered to seal the place where the ‘Shivling’ was purportedly found. On May 17, the top court had directed the District Magistrate of Varanasi to ensure that the ‘Shivling’ within the mosque was to be protected.

To mention, one of the Hindu petitioners in the Gyanvyapi mosque worship rights suit, in August, had filed a fresh application before the Varanasi district judge pleading the court to give directions to the ASI to undertake a survey of the wazukhana area of the mosque.

The applicant, Rakhi Singh, stated that one of the issues which has to be decided by this court was to identify the religious character of the Gyanwapi mosque precincts as it was in effect on August 15, 1947.

“Hence, to ascertain the religious character of the property in question Gyanwapi, ASI survey of the protected/sealed area is needed excluding the ‘Shivling’. Because the ongoing ASI survey will not damage the protected portion,” the plea says.

Advocate Saurabh Tiwari, who represented Singh, said that he will now approach the Allahabad High Court.

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