Gyanvapi mosque survey Day 2: ASI team concludes survey for the day, Hindu side lawyer claim ‘fragments of idols found’
ASI begins survey at Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi. Hindu litigants claim temple existed earlier, Muslim side opposes survey.
Gyanvapi mosque case updates: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) started the survey of Varanasi Gyanvapi's mosque at 9 am on Saturday. The survey ended at 5pm on Saturday. Five members from the Muslim side were also present during the survey, after having stayed away on Friday. The survey will continue on Sunday 6 August.
The ASI team is conducting a survey of the mosque to determine whether the 17th-century mosque was constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple. This week, the Allahabad High Court ordered to conduct of the ASI Survey of the Gyanvapi mosque, an exercise that the Muslim side says will "reopen wounds of the past". The Muslim side, knocked Supreme Court's door to halt the survey process on Thursday. However, a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra. refused to stay the Allahabad High Court order. The 3-judge bench has asked the ASI not to carry out any invasive act during the survey.
On Saturday after the ASI concluded their survey for the day, lawyer for the Hindu side Sudhir Tripathi claimed, "Not idols, but fragments of idols have been found in the debris. We are quite hopeful that idols will also be recovered... The Intezamia Masjid Committee is cooperating... they gave the keys which they were not giving earlier."
Here are 10 updates on Gyanvapi Mosque's ASI survey:
1. A team from the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) arrived at the Gyanvapi Mosque Complex in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. The survey started at 9 AM.
2. Hindu side advocate Sudhir Tripathi said asked people to cooperate in the survey process and get it completed as soon as possible. " We are showing full cooperation and involvement. They have come at the direction of the Supreme Court. We welcome it. We want the matter to be resolved soon...The survey will clarify everything," Mishra added.
Additionally, the Muslim side advocate Mumtaz Ahmed said on Friday that he is satisfied with the ASI survey. "Till yesterday, we were not participating but today we are participating and assisting the ASI team," advocate Ahmed said.
3. The Gyanvapi mosque in the city of Varanasi, an area Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents in India's parliament, is one of several mosques in northern Uttar Pradesh state that some Hindus believe was built on top of demolished Hindu temples. In Gyanvapi Mosque's case, four Hindu women filed a petition on May 16, 2023, saying that a temple existed earlier at the site and was demolished in the 17th century on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. According to the Hindu litigants, a 'shivling' exists at mosque 'wazu khana'. However, that area has been exempted from the survey by the court.
4. Yesterday, a team of 40-45 ASI officials kicked off the survey at the Gyanvapi mosque complex at 7 AM. According to the Hindu side lawyer Mishra, the survey will continue for a long time.
5. Allahabad High Court on Thursday allowed the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a survey at the Gyanvapi mosque as it dismissed Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee's plea, challenging the survey of the complex, adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi.
6. On July 21, Varanasi district judge AK Vishvesha ordered the ASI survey of the Gyanvapi complex on an application moved by four Hindu women on May 16, 2023.
7. Yesterday, the Supreme Court also permitted ASI’s scientific survey at the Gyanvapi mosque complex. Hence all three courts--district court, High Court, as well as, Supreme Court have allowed the ASI team to conduct the scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque to determine if the 17th-century structure was built upon a pre-existing temple.
8. Yesterday, a Varanasi court granted additional four weeks to the Archaeological Survey of India for completing the scientific survey on the Gyanvapi mosque that stands next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
9. All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali said that the Places of Worship Act should be enforced at all places of worship in the country.
"We are hopeful that justice will be done as this mosque is around 600 years old and Muslims have been offering namaz there for the last 600 years. We also want that the Places of Worship Act should be enforced at all places of worship in the country. The Muslim side will think about approaching SC challenging this order," he said.
10. The Muslim body, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages the Gyanvapi mosque, contends that the survey is contrary to provisions of a 1991 Indian law protecting places of worship.
The law states that the nature of all places of worship, except Ram Janmabhoomi–Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, shall be maintained as they were on August 15, 1947, and that it's illegal to convert such sites.
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