Gyanvapi mosque case: Amid tight security, 52-member team enters masjid complex
According to the latest reports, all the three underground cellars of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Varanasi have been surveyed
The videography survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Varanasi resumed today with tight security arrangements amid objections over videography inside the complex. However, the mosque management committee has indicated that it will cooperate for now with the team assigned the task by a local court.
Currently, the team is surveying the western wall area of the Mosque. As per News18, all roads leading to Kashi Vishvanath Temple and Gyanvapi Mosque have been blocked and tight security arrangements have been put in place. Pedestrians were also not allowed on the road between Maidagin and Godowlia areas.
The mosque is located next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple. "There is a robust arrangement to ensure that the people don't face any inconvenience, the darshan takes place well and everything goes on well," RS Gautam, deputy commissioner of police, Kashi Zone, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"The authorised persons — all parties, their advocates, court commissioners and videographers — have reached the spot, and the survey has started," District Magistrate of Varanasi Kaushal Raj Sharma told PTI.
According to the latest reports, all the three underground cellars have been surveyed. A total of 52 people including survey team members from both sides, petitioners, respondents and officers from administration have entered the site.
The mosque is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple and the local court is hearing a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols on its outer walls.
An important meeting was held with all parties concerned on Friday, Sharma had said earlier, and added that an appeal was made to them to cooperate in the commission's work and the maintenance of law and order.
In his order on Thursday, District Civil Court (Senior Division) judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar had turned down a plea by the mosque committee to replace Ajay Kumar Mishra, who was appointed advocate commissioner by him to survey the Gyanvapi-Gauri Shringar complex.
The judge also appointed two more advocates to help the commissioner with the survey and said it should be completed by Tuesday.
Lawyers representing the Hindu and Muslim sides were present at the meeting held on Friday by the district magistrate.
Also on Friday, the Supreme Court refused to grant an interim order of status quo on the survey. The top court, however, agreed to consider listing the plea of a Muslim party against the survey.
The survey was stalled last week amid objections by the mosque committee, which claimed that the advocate commissioner did not have the mandate to film inside the premises. The committee accused him of bias and filed a plea for his replacement.
Advocate Madan Mohan Yadav, who is appearing for the Hindu side, had said the three court-appointed advocate commissioners, five lawyers each from the two sides and an assistant besides a videography team will carry out the survey.
People attended Friday prayers amid tight security outside the mosque.
In its order on Thursday, the district court said locks should be broken if the keys are not available to access certain areas of the complex for the survey.
It also asked the district authorities to register FIRs if the survey was not allowed.
A wazukhana is described as an ablution pond where worshippers wash themselves before praying at the mosque. At Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque, this has become the topic of debate with the videography survey reporting the presence of a Shivling while Muslims are saying it is a fountain
Court allows videography inside Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque: A look at the case, the verdict, and past controversies
The mosque first grabbed headlines in 1991 when devotees claimed that it was built at the site of a temple, demolished in 1669 on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Since then, the place of worship has been wrangled in legal troubles
Special Advocate Commissioner Vishal Singh submitted the report of the survey work carried out on 14, 15 and 16 May in the court of the District Civil Judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar