Gyanvapi mosque survey: Varanasi court refuses to stay survey order, says ‘finish filming by May 17’

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.

Gyanvapi mosque (File Photo)
Gyanvapi mosque (File Photo)

Varanasi: A Varanasi court on Thursday said that the survey at the disputed site in Gyanvapi mosque will be continue. The local court, in its order, asked the survey to be completed by May 17.

The court 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.

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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. Though the survey was started amid heavy security arrangement 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, 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, 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.”

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