Gyanvapi masjid survey to continue, says Varanasi court order; Survey commissioner stays

The Varanasi court hearing the petition of five women seeking right to worship without any hindrance at the Kashi-Vishwanath- Gyanvapi mosque complex on Thursday ordered the survey will continue at the disputed site.

Two more advocate commisioners — Ajay Singh and Vishal Singh — have been appointed by the court, in addition to Advocate Ajay Kumar Mishra.  They were appointed after Mishra was accused of being biased by the Anjuman Intezamia mosque committee. The Commission will submit a report by May 17 on the inspection of the Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath temple complex.

The court ordered an inspection in April following a petition by five Hindu women who asked for year-long access to pray at a Hindu shrine located within the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi. Presently, the contested site is opened for prayers once a year. 

The petitioners had sought protection of their right to religion guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution, and orders for the defendants (mosque committee) to not create any hindrance to worship at the disputed site. On April 21, the Allahabad High Court dismissed a petition filed by the masjid committee challenging the local court’s order. On April 26, the Varanasi court again ordered videography of the disputed site, which began on Friday afternoon amid heavy security.

But the survey was not fully completed due to a dispute over videography inside the mosque complex. 

Speaking to The Indian Express, Madan Mohan Yadav, one of the lawyers representing the petitioners, said, “We spoke about the completing survey that was left incomplete after the Muslim side filed an application in the court seeking a replacement of the Advocate Commissioner appointed by the court. The court heard both sides and reserved its order for Thursday.”

“We have prayed before the court that the Commission must be allowed to conduct the survey inside the structure,” added Madan Mohan Yadav.

Abhay Nath Yadav, representing the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, on Thursday said, “We had moved an application to change the Advocate Commissioner. The plaintiffs have filed an application saying that the Commission should be allowed to enter the court for the videographic survey. We argued that firstly, the hounourable court has not passed any order for videography inside the mosque. Then, we cited an order passed April 26 this year, when the District Government Counsel (Civil) had filed an application asking for number of people in the Commission.

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