ASI seeks time to prepare report on how to determine age of structure found inside Gyanvapi mosque

The agency to consult expert bodies to find the best way to determine the age of the structure

November 21, 2022 08:35 pm | Updated November 22, 2022 12:26 pm IST - New Delhi

In this May, 2022 file photo, the Gyanvapi Mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi.

In this May, 2022 file photo, the Gyanvapi Mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI) on November 21, 2022 told the Allahabad High Court that the agency needed three months’ time to prepare a report on what could be done to determine the age of the structure found inside the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.

ASI counsel Manoj Kumar told The Hindu that the agency would consult expert bodies to find an exact and best way to determine the age of the structure.

“There are modern, scientific ways to determine the same. The court will take a call on our plea in the next hearing — November 30,” Mr. Kumar said.

While the ASI counsel denied that there was any mention of carbon dating during Monday’s hearing in court, Saurabh Tiwari, lawyer representing Hindu plaintiff Rakhi Singh, claimed that the ASI made oral observations that carbon dating of the ‘Shiv ling’ might damage the structure’.

“The ASI lawyer particularly said carbon dating of the structure cannot be done as it might damage the same,” added Mr. Tiwari.

Reacting to Mr. Tiwari’s claim, Mr. Kumar said it was Mrs. Singh’s lawyer who told the court that carbon dating would damage the structure.

“The court had a view that whether carbon dating can be done on a stone or not. So one cannot do carbon dating of the stone. It is done only on structures that have carbon deposition on them,” said Mr. Kumar.

Another lawyer present in the court during the hearing confirmed to The Hindu that the ASI’s counsel said carbon dating on the structure would damage it.

When the judge asked how can the ASI say the same without visiting the spot, the ASI’s lawyer sought time to compile a report,” he added.

‘Needed more time’

Counsel for Hindu worshippers Lakshmi Devi and others, Vishnu Shankar Jain, said the ASI needed more time to ascertain whether carbon dating could be conducted.

“The court expressed the view that no party wants the structure to be damaged,” he added.

The matter pertaining to ‘worship rights’ inside the Varanasi-based Gyanvyapi mosque is being heard by a Bench of Justice J.J. Munir, which, in the previous hearing, had asked the ASI to submit its opinion whether investigation of the structure found at the site, ‘subject matter of original suit No.18 of 2022’, if examined through the methods of carbon dating, ground penetrating radar (GPR), excavation and other methods to determine its age, nature and other relevant information, is likely to damage it or a safe evaluation about its age can be done.

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