The Varanasi District Court today allowed a “scientific survey” of the entire Gyanvapi mosque premises, except the barricaded ‘wazukhana’ where a structure claimed by Hindu litigants to be a ‘shivling’ exists, by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), to find out as to whether the Mosque had been constructed over a pre-existing structure of the Hindu temple. The court asked the ASI to submit its scientific report by August 4.
The order is likely to be challenged in higher courts. The Supreme Court last year directed the sealing of the ‘wazukhana’ area.
“I have been informed that my application has been approved and the court has directed to conduct an ASI survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, excluding the Wazu tank which has been sealed,” Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the Hindu side in the case, said, according to news agency ANI.
The application was moved in May this year by four women worshippers, who claimed the Gyanvapi Mosque, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, had signs of an ancient Hindu temple. The application stated that Swayambhu Jyotirlinga existed at the site for lakhs of years, however, the same was destroyed/damaged several times by “Muslim Invaders who had hatred against infidels and idol worshippers beginning with the attack of Mahmud Ghazni in 1017 AD”.
The application further states that “one of the most fanatic and cruel Mughal Emperors, Aurangzeb” issued Farman in 1669 to demolish the Temple of Lord Adivisheshwar at the site in question and in pursuance of his command, his subordinates carried out the order by demolishing the aforesaid Temple.
Mr Jain earlier said he argued that the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute can be resolved only by an archaeological investigation of the entire mosque complex.
The Muslims side had opposed the plea, saying an ASI survey could damage the complex.
The Supreme Court had on May 19 deferred the “scientific survey”, including carbon dating, of a “Shivling” said to have been found at the Gyanvapi mosque complex during a videographic survey last year.
Earlier this year, the mosque committee suffered a huge setback in one of the main cases involving the Gyanvapi Mosque, as the Allahabad High Court dismissed a plea that requested it to scrap a civil suit being heard in a local court.
The lawsuit filed by a group of Hindu women worshippers seeking the right to pray in the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi was valid, the court ruled, allowing the case to continue in the Varanasi District Court.