The local court’s order came a day before the Supreme Court’s hearing over survey of the masjid. A petition, filed before the top court, has challenged the order of Varanasi court in which it had asked to conduct a videograpic survey of the mosque.
Varanasi: Amid reports of finding Shivling in a pond during the court-mandated videographic survey of Gyanvapi Masjid, a Varanasi court on Monday ordered to seal the pond area. As per the report, the local court has asked the district collector to ensure sealing of the area and prohibiting entry of any person. The court has also asked the district administration, police and other concerned agencies to maintain security of the area.
The local court’s order came a day before the Supreme Court’s hearing over the survey of the masjid. A petition, filed before the top court, has challenged the order of Varanasi court in which it had asked to conduct a videograpic survey of the mosque. The Masjid Committee’s lawyer, Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, had mentioned the petition before the Chief Justice of India to hear the matter on urgent basis. A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha to hear the petition filed by Masjid.
Earlier on Thursday, the Varanasi court ordered to continue survey of the disputed site in Gyanvapi mosque. The local court, in its order, had asked the survey to be completed by May 17. The court had also said that the commissioner won’t be removed. It has also appointed two more commissioners — Ajay Singh and Vishal Singh — to accompany the court commissioner Ajay Mishra for the survey. Mishra has been accused of being biased by the Anjuman Intezamia mosque committee.
A group of five women had filed a petition before the court seeking right to worship without any hindrance at the Kashi-Vishwanath-Gyanvapi Mosque complex. The petitioners had sought for a year-long access to pray at a Hindu shrine located within the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi as the contested site is opened for prayers once a year. Hearing the petition, the court had ordered an inspection in April. The petitioners had filed their petition under Article 25 of the Constitution requesting protection of their right to religion.
The masjid committee, however, had challenged the petition in the Allahabad High Court but their petition was dismissed by the court. The Varanasi court, on April 26, had ordered a videography of the disputed site. The survey was started amid heavy security arrangements on Friday but was stalled due to protests.
The survey team, led by the court-appointed commissioner, had said that they were unable to enter the Gyanvapi mosque to conduct videography and survey amid objections from the mosque’s managing committee. The committee had moved a local court on Saturday seeking replacement of the advocate commissioner. The committee had alleged that they have doubts about the fairness of the commissioner.
Reacting to the development, Advocate Vishal Singh, one of the new commissioners, had said, “Haven’t received the order copy yet but after reading and understanding, we will follow it in letter and spirit. Today’s decision states that the Varanasi DM and the Police Commissioner will ensure that the procedure continues smoothly.”
Advocate Ajay Pratap Singh, the other new commissioner appointed by the court, had said, “The responsibility given to us by the court is a big challenge but we are confident that all three of us will be able to execute it well with the help of the administration.”