Despite the committee of Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi saying that they will not allow videography inside the mosque, as ordered by a court, the videography will go ahead today amid tight security. According to reports, the survey and videography are scheduled to be conducted starting on 6th May 2022 at 3 PM by the Court Commissioner, as part of the commission’s action on behalf of the Civil Judge (Senior Division) of Varanasi. The court had ordered the survey while hearing a plea demanding darshan puja and security at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and other idols including Shringar Gauri at Gyanvapi Mosque complex.
The issue may turn sensitive as the management committee of the Gyanvapi mosque has already declared to oppose the decision of the local court. Considering this, securities in Varanasi are being tightened.
S M Yasin, joint secretary of Anjuman Intejamiya Masjid Managing Committee, had said that no one will be allowed to enter the mosque. The Muslim side has said that the survey and videography should be restricted to the Kashi Vishwanath temple premises, and no “non-believer” will be allowed to enter the mosque. The committee has said that they will protest in a peaceful manner.
The survey process is expected to take 3 to 4 days, when both the basements of the temple turned mosque will be surveyed.
The Hindu petitioners in this case will be represented by 15 persons in the team of the court commissioner. Besides, 2 associates of the court commissioner and 3 photographers and videographers will also be present at the time of the survey and videography. Respondents from Anjuman Intezamiya Committee will also be present along with five lawyers. Security of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple complex has been increased.
The devotees or anyone going for darshan inside the temple is being allowed to enter only after intensive checking. The security arrangements of the mosque are already in the hands of the paramilitary forces. The time of survey action is fixed at around 3:00 pm. This has already increased the stir.
Shri Kashi Vishwanath, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, and the Gyanvapi Mosque dispute is pending in Varanasi’s local courts since 1991. After the orders of the high court, that suit is transferred to the Allahabad high court. But the Shringar Gauri case is just seven months old.
On August 18, 2021, five women from Varanasi filed a suit in the Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) of Varanasi along with other demands, including the demand for daily darshan puja at the Shringar Gauri Temple. The court, while admitting the plea, had not only ordered the setting up of a commission of lawyers to know the situation on the spot but also appointed an advocate commissioner. Not only that, the opposition was issued notices, as well as the next date of hearing, was fixed. But due to the court commissioner going on the backfoot a couple of times, the disputed site could not be inspected.
Varanasi Civil Judge (Senior Division Fast Track) Justice Ravi Kumar Diwakar, while reiterating his earlier order of 18th August 2021, had again allowed the survey and videography proceedings to be taken up by appointing court commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra on 8th April 2022. After this, the Varanasi district administration and police, among the respondents, objected. To prevent the action, they argued that there need to be better security arrangements, and only Muslims and security persons can go inside a mosque. The court, while rejecting the plea after the hearing, continued with its earlier order and sought a report on taking action of survey and videography after Eid before May 10 and also fixed May 10 as the date of hearing.
According to the reports, the image of the goddess Shringar Gauri is located within the outer wall of the Gyanvapi mosque. Following the demolition of the Babri mosque during the Ram Janambhoomi movement, regular entry of devotees was forbidden, and worshiping this deity was only permitted on the fourth day of Chaitra Navratri.