A local court in Varanasi on May 12 is expected to decide if an advocate commissioner appointed by it to videograph a ‘Hindu site’ outside the wall of the Gyanvapi Masjid would be allowed to enter the tehkhana (cellar) of the mosque for inspection.
The court would also decide if the advocate commissioner, Ajay Kumar Mishra, would be replaced after the caretakers of the Gyanvapi Masjid alleged that he was acting in a “biased” manner.
The video inspection was halted on the first day after the mosque committee objected to the demand by the Hindu plaintiffs that the advocate commissioner be allowed inside the mosque and its cellar.
A Civil judge had appointed the court commissioner after five women plaintiffs linked to a right-wing group Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh in April filed a suit declaring that they were entitled to have daily darshan, pooja of Maa Shringar Gauri and other “visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex” situated at settlement plot no. 9130 in the Dashwamedh area.
They had also demanded that an advocate commissioner conduct a local inspection of the site and ascertain the existence of the image of deities at the plot.
While the court order did not specifically state if the inspection would include videography inside the Gyanvapi Masjid and its cellar, its caretakers asserted that they objected to any videography inside the mosque and inside the barricades.
Shivam Gaur, a lawyer for the Hindu plaintiffs, told The Hindu they wanted a clarification specifically “if the tehkhana would be opened and inspection allowed inside it.” Sayid Yasin, joint secretary of the Anjuman Intejamia Masajid, the caretaker of the mosque, said their objection was that the court commissioner should not be allowed to enter the mosque and its barricades.