Asaduddin Owaisi's 'handmaiden of Hindutva’ dig over ASI Gyanvapi survey report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Asaduddin Owaisi's ‘handmaiden of Hindutva’ dig over ASI’s Gyanvapi survey report

Jan 26, 2024 12:15 PM IST

The Hindu side advocate in the Gyanvapi Masjid case Vishnu Shankar Jain, claimed that the ASI has found remnants of a large Hindu temple inside the mosque.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday slammed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report after the Hindi-side petitioners claimed that a large Hindu temple existed before the construction of the Gyanvapi Masjid, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, citing the report. Terming the organisation as "handmaiden of Hindutva", Owaisi alleged that the report was based on conjecture and made a mockery of scientific study.

AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi (PTI)
AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi (PTI)

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Owaisi said, “This wouldn’t stand academic scrutiny before any set of professional archaeologists or historians. The report is based on conjecture and makes a mockery of scientific study. As a great scholar once said 'ASI is the handmaiden of Hindutva'.”

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On Thursday, the Hindu side advocate in the Gyanvapi Masjid-Kashi Vishwanath temple case Vishnu Shankar Jain, claimed that the ASI found remnants of a large Hindu temple inside the mosque. Jain also made the report public minutes after the 839-page document was given to the Hindu and Muslim sides, even though the court restrained both sides from revealing the details of the report in public.

“Based on scientific studies/survey carried out, study of architectural remains, exposed features and artefacts, inscriptions, art and sculptures, it can be said that there existed a Hindu temple prior to the construction of the existing structure,” the report said.

The report further suggested that the temple was destroyed during the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. “The Arabic-Persian inscription found inside a room mentions that the mosque was built in the 20th regnal year of Aurangzeb …hence, the pre-existing structure appears to have been destroyed in the 17th century, during the reign of Aurangzeb, and part of it was modified and reused in the existing structure,” the report said.

It further said that pillars decorated with bells, niches for keeping lamps, and inscriptions of the temple were reused to build the mosque.

“Based on art and architecture, this pre-existing structure can be identified as a Hindu temple,” the ASI report said.

Meanwhile, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages the Gyanvapi mosque, said it was yet to study the ASI report.

The Gyanvapi dispute dates back decades but in August 2021, five women filed a petition in a local court demanding the right of unhindered worship at the Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal, located inside the complex that houses idols of Hindu gods.

The ASI carried out the controversial survey of the Gyanvapi mosque after the district court passed an order for the survey to determine whether the mosque was constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple in July last year.

The Hindu side had claimed the 17th-century mosque was constructed over a pre-existing temple and a shivling was found in the final hours of the exercise while the Muslim side argued that the structure found was a ceremonial ablution fountain. The area remains sealed under the orders of the apex court.

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