Gyanvapi Mosque Survey By ASI Underway, SC Issues Status Quo Order

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A team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has started a “scientific survey” of Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque today even as the mosque management committee filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the Varanasi district court’s order allowing the inspection.

The survey – which began at 7 am – will extend to all areas except the sealed “wuzukhana” where a structure that Hindu litigants claimed to be a ‘Shivling’ – a relic of Lord Shiva — was found during an earlier survey in 2022. The ASI has to submit the report to the district court by August 4.

The inspection is being carried out following an order by the Varanasi district court on Friday. The order was passed based on a plea by four women worshippers who claim the Gyanvapi mosque was built after razing an ancient Hindu temple and that a scientific study is needed to bring out the full facts.

While passing the order, the court held that the scientific investigation is “necessary” for the “true facts” to come out.

The same petitioners had filed the 2021 petition in the Gyanvapi matter, asking for year-long access to the m “Shringar Gauri” shrine inside the mosque.

Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi, who also represents Hindu side in the Gyanvapi case, claimed the court’s decision is a turning point in the case. “Our application for the ASI survey has been accepted. It is a turning point in the case,” he said.

In May this year, the Supreme Court had deferred the “scientific survey”, including carbon dating, of the “Shivling” that was said to have been found at the Gyanvapi mosque complex during a videographic survey conducted last year.

However, in the recent development, The Supreme Court bench led by the Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said, “Let there be a status quo for the time being. No excavation.. No invasive method until we hear it.”

The Supreme Court will take up at 11:15 A.M.,Gyanvapi mosque management committee’s plea against a survey of the mosque by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ascertain whether the mosque was built over a pre-existing Hindu temple.

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