Gyanvapi row: ASI team starts work on scientific survey

Varanasi (TIP)- The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) began working on a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi premises here on Friday, August 4, to determine whether the 17th-century mosque was constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple.
The survey began at around 7 am, ASI sources said. The ASI team members, along with the representatives of the Hindu petitioners to a legal dispute involving the mosque, were present in the complex under watertight security arrangements.
The members of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid committee have boycotted the survey. The representatives of the committee who were to accompany the ASI team for the survey abstained from doing so.
The survey began after the Allahabad High Court on Thursday, August 3, upheld a Varanasi district court order and ruled that the proposed step is “necessary in the interest of justice” and will benefit both sides.
The order came after the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid committee, representing the Muslim side to the legal dispute, moved the Supreme Court against the Varanasi district court order.
The mosque stands next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The Allahabad high court on August 3 cleared the decks for a controversial survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid premises in Varanasi, holding that scientific investigation was necessary in the interest of justice and would benefit both parties in a dispute that has simmered on for decades but snowballed over the past year.
In a 16-page order, high court chief justice Pritinker Diwaker dismissed the petition filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages the mosque and which had challenged a Varanasi court judgment that ordered on July 21 a survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to determine if the 17th century structure was built over a temple.
“Scientific investigation is necessary in the interest of justice and shall benefit the plaintiffs and defendants alike and come in aid of the trial court to arrive at a just decision,” the verdict said. Hours later, the mosque management committee rushed to the Supreme Court, pressing for an urgent hearing. A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, will take up the plea for an immediate stay on the survey on Friday. The survey will begin between 7am and 8am, said Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi, a counsel for the Hindu side. “We are against the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque,” said Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee’s joint secretary SM Yasin.
The high court – which started hearing the case on July 25 after the Supreme Court temporarily suspended the survey on July 24 — took on record ASI’s undertaking that the agency will not carry out any excavation or harm the existing structure. The court also asked the district court to expedite proceedings,
“As the proceeding of the suit has been lingering on for long, it would be appropriate to observe that the court concerned shall make all endeavour to conclude the proceedings expeditiously, without granting unnecessary adjournments to either of the parties by giving short dates,” the high court said.
The district court is hearing a raft of petitions by Hindu groups and individuals who have demanded worshipping rights inside the mosque premises, claiming the presence of Hindu idols and deities within the complex that abuts the Kashi Vishwanath temple. This is the second such controversial exercise to be carried out at the premises.

Be the first to comment

The Indian Panorama - Best Indian American Newspaper in New York & Dallas - Comments