Gyanvapi row: UP court orders sealing of area where 'Shivling found' during survey
The videography survey of Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi by a court-appointed panel concluded on the third day on Monday.
A court in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi on Monday ordered that a pond in the Gyanvapi Mosque complex be sealed amid reports that a "Shivling" has been found in it. The Varanasi court ordered district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma “to seal the area and prohibit the entry of any person to the area”. In its order, the court said the DM, police commissioner and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commandant Varanasi will be responsible for the security of the sealed area.
The direction comes after an advocate filed a petition in the court of civil judge senior division Ravi Kumar Diwakar seeking the area should be protected.
SM Yasin, joint secretary of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages Gyanvapi Mosque, said, " We strictly followed the order by the court and fully cooperated in the survey. I am deeply pained that the people associated with petitioners are making claims which suit them and leaking details of proceedings of the survey."
The videography survey of Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi by a court-appointed panel concluded on the third day on Monday amid elaborate security arrangements.
The civil court had appointed a court commissioner to conduct the survey and videography of the site and the same was challenged before Allahabad High Court, which dismissed the appeal on April 21. The April 21 order of the high court was challenged in the apex court.
Till Sunday, 80 per cent of the premises were surveyed in eight hours over two days, a person familiar with the matter said.
Latest updates on the Gyanvapi Mosque survey:
> "We filed a petition in the court of civil judge senior division Ravi Kumar Diwakar urging that the area where some concrete evidence were found during the survey should be protected. The court heard the petition and ordered to seal the area," said advocate Harishankar Jain, one of the advocates who filed the petition.
> Rais Ahmad Ansari, one of the advocates of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee said the petitioners have made a misleading claim. “There is only a fountain in the wajookhana in the Gyanvapi mosque. The structure, which the petitioners are claiming to be Shivlinga, is a fountain. It is a misleading claim," he said.
> The survey work on Monday began around 8 am and all the parties have been directed to remain present.
> Advocate Vishal Singh, the court-appointed special assistant commissioner in Varanasi, said the survey was conducted in an unhindered manner.
> "We spoke with all stakeholders and reached a consensus that it's important to follow court's order. We also cleared people's misconceptions and worked on confidence building. The three-day survey has ended," news agency ANI quoted commissioner of police Varanasi Satish Ganesh as saying.
> On Sunday, proceedings of the survey commission started at 8 am, Varanasi police commissioner A Satish Ganesh said. Arrangements were also made so that there would be no inconvenience to devotees visiting the Kashi Vishwanath temple, he added.
> The survey included videography and inspection of the Gyanvapi complex premises on the directions of a local court that is hearing a plea for daily worship of the Shringar Gauri Sthal in the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi complex.
> Devotees were given entry to the Kashi Vishwanath temple through Dhundhi Raj Ganesh Gate and Ganga river gate. The entrance of the general public was kept closed for four hours at the joint gate number 4 of Gyanvapi.
> The survey was stalled last week amid objections by the mosque committee, which claimed that the advocate commissioner appointed by the court for the survey did not have the mandate to film inside the premises.
> In his order on Thursday last, District Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar had turned down a plea by the mosque committee to replace Ajay Kumar Mishra, who was appointed advocate commissioner by the court to survey the Gyanvapi-Gauri Shringar complex.
> The judge also appointed two more advocates to help the court commissioner with the survey and said it should be completed by Tuesday.
> On Tuesday, the Supreme Court to hear a plea seeking direction for a stay on the survey. A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud will hear the plea of Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee.
(With inputs from agencies)