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Varanasi court pronounces verdict in favour of the Hindu side, allows the scientific survey of Gyanvapi premises

The district court had heard both Hindu and Muslim sides on July 14 and reserved its order for July 21.

On Friday, July 21, the Varanasi court gave a nod to the petition filed by the Hindu side, seeking a scientific survey of the Gynvapi structure in Varanasi by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Notably, as per the verdict, the ASI would now conduct a scientific survey on the entire Gyanvapi premises, except the area that was sealed after the discovery of the Shivling within the Varanasi Gyanvapi complex.

Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the Hindu side in the Gyanvapi mosque case, said, “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.”

The district court had heard both Hindu and Muslim sides on July 14 and reserved its order for July 21.

Speaking to the media before the court verdict, Advocate Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi, the Hindu side’s lawyer on the Gyanvapi matter had said, “The decision that is supposed to be pronounced today is on the ASI survey that we had demanded, except on the sealed area in the premises. The sealed area’s matter is pending before the Supreme Court and the SC said that an ASI survey should not be done in the area until the decision is pronounced on the same…Both parties had argued their sides and the Muslim side had raised its objection…Today’s decision will be a turning point for us…”

Notably, the application demanding the scientific survey was submitted to the district court on May 16 by Vishnu Shankar Jain, the attorney for 4 women Hindu worshippers who are plaintiffs in the Shringar Gauri-Gyanvapi case. Later, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee (AIMC) filed an objection in the matter.

“The court heard the arguments of both sides in the application seeking ASI survey in the barricaded area of Gyanvapi and the hearing was completed on Friday,” said Rajesh Mishra, the special attorney for the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government in the Shringar Gauri-Gyanvapi issue. The court set July 21 as the date for its decision.

Supreme Court postpones hearing on Gyanvapi disputed structure

Notably, prior to this, the Supreme Court postponed the hearing of the application related to the Gynvapi structure in Varanasi and directed the Muslim side to file their response in the case. During the hearing on July 11, the bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice Manoj Mishra said that the response of the Muslim side to the petition is awaited.

This had come a day after the Hindu parties in its affidavit informed the Supreme Court that calling the Shivling discovered within the Varanasi Gyanvapi complex a “fountain” amounted to demeaning it and that a scientific investigation of the Shivling should be carried out to end the controversy.

The Hindu parties had requested a survey of the entire Gyanvapi mosque premises by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to determine whether the mosque had been built over an earlier structure of the Hindu temple. On May 16, the Varanasi District Court granted the committee until May 19 to file their reply or objection, if any.

The ‘Wazu’ area of the Gyanvapi mosque is the centre of the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute between Hindus and Muslims since the Hindu parties assert that ‘Shivling’ has been found in that spot, however, the Muslim side disputed the same and claim that it is only a water fountain.

Notably, the request for a scientific investigation of the Shivling was filed previously before the Varanasi Court in September 2022, but it was denied in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to safeguard the location where the Shiva Linga was allegedly discovered on May 17, 2022.

The Hindu parties had requested a survey of the entire Gyanvapi mosque premises by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to determine whether the mosque had been built over an earlier structure of the Hindu temple. On May 16, the Varanasi District Court granted the committee until May 19 to file their reply or objection, if any.

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