ASI granted four weeks’ time to submit report on Gyanvapi survey

ASI is conducting a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises to determine whether the 17th-century structure was built over a Hindu temple

Updated - September 09, 2023 09:23 am IST

Published - September 09, 2023 03:02 am IST - New Delhi

Archaeological Survey of India team arrives to conduct the scientific survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex

Archaeological Survey of India team arrives to conduct the scientific survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex | Photo Credit: ANI

A Varanasi court on Friday granted four more weeks to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to complete the scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex and submit its report.

The order for the extension of ASI survey deadline was announced by district Judge A. K. Vishvesh.

“ of the important question and the issue remains which has to be decided by this Court that what was the religious character of the Gyanvyapi precincts dated on 15th August, 1947 as Muslims were claiming there right also. Whatever will be seen/found and existing Hindu sign/symbols will determines the fate of the Original suit. In the light of above prayer this interlocutory application liable to be allowed,” the court noted.

The ASI, on September 02, had filed an application in the Varanasi district court seeking further eight weeks’ time to file its report pertaining to the mosque survey. The court has earlier asked the ASI to submit its report in four weeks, which was ending on September 4.

In the application, the counsel for the ASI maintained that the survey is expected to take some more time as a lot of debris consisting of garbage, loose soil and building materials such as bricks, loose stone slabs and fragments, and fallen materials are dumped on floor level in cellars as well as around the structure, covering the original features of the structure. The ASI said it needs more time to remove the debris and reach to the ground to perform the scientific survey.

The ASI’s application was opposed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages the Gyanvapi mosque. The mosque committee in its application has alleged that the ASI is not using the GPR technique to conduct the survey of the structure and the agency is digging the premises which is against the court’s directions. The committee had also alleged that ASI’s techniques may damage the mosque.

To mention, the ASI is currently conducting a scientific survey of the Gyanvyapi mosque - since August 4 - on the orders of Varansi district court given on July 21, 2023. The aim of the survey is to determine if the mosque was constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple. The survey will take place in the entire premise of the mosque except wuzukhana (place of ablution).

The orders were given after the ASI provided an undertaking that no excavation would be done at the site and no damage would be caused to the structure.

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