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ASI survey of Gyanvapi resumes for second day after recording trishul, swastika etc, Muslim side refuses to open basement saying survey is illegal, to move court

Muslim side's lawyer Mumtaz Ahmed said that the ASI started the work without giving any notice to them, and they will move to court against it

On Friday, 4th August 2023, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) resumed its investigation of the Gyanvapi structure in Varanasi with the aim of determining whether it was constructed atop a Hindu temple after getting the go-ahead from the Supreme Court. During this phase, the top archaeology organisation utilised videography and photography to document various artefacts such as a trident (trishul), swastika, bell, and flower-like symbols found engraved on the walls and pillars of the Gyanvapi complex.

The ASI team continued its survey operations on the consecutive second day on Saturday, 5th August 2023. The team is surveying the structure in two phases today. It will first examine the building from 8 am to 12:30 pm. It will continue the work after a break, surveying it from 2:30 pm to 5 pm.

The ASI has formed four teams for the survey on Saturday. Two teams started checking the western wall of the complex. One team was deployed for investigation in the eastern wall and the other in the north wall and its adjoining areas. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is being used around the outer walls of the building. During the survey, 9 people from the Muslim side and 7 people from the Hindu side are present in Gyanvapi.

However, the Mosque committee refused to hand over the key to the basement today. While the mosque caretaker Ejaz Ahmed gave the key to the main gates of the mosque, the tehkhana was not opened and the key was not given. Muslim side’s lawyer Mumtaz Ahmed said ‘why should we give them the key to the basement, they will open wherever they to open’. He said that the ASI started the work without giving any notice to them, and they will move to court against it.

Reportedly the basement is filled with garbage and it was to be cleaned today before work could be done there. However, now the Muslim side is going back to court again alleging that the survey is illegal as they didn’t get any notice.

On Friday – the initial day of the survey, the archaeologists meticulously examined the symbols adorning the walls, domes, and pillars of the disputed Gyanvapi structure. Each design’s construction style and historical significance were thoroughly documented during this comprehensive investigation, which also encompassed the engravings found on the domes and pillars. To maintain peace and order in the vicinity of the Gyanvapi complex, the district authorities deployed a substantial number of security personnel.

The survey continued for approximately seven hours on its first day, during which the ASI meticulously recorded the layout and took images of the various structures within the Gyanvapi complex. To gather precise data, dial test indicators were strategically positioned on all four corners of the complex, enabling the measurement of depth and height for different sections of the site.

A team of 37 members from the ASI was joined by additional experts from IIT, forming a combined team of 41 individuals. This team was further divided into four groups to commence the survey. On Saturday, the survey entered its second day, with the Muslim side expressing their willingness to cooperate.

One of the four petitioners in this case said, “Yesterday, videography was done by the ASI. There are chances that the survey of underground places (tehkhana) may be carried out today. One can see various symbols on the structure. Through Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), all the idols that were submerged inside may be discovered. The survey will start at 9 am on Saturday. Yesterday was a big day for celebration for us. The survey will continue now. The Muslim side will cooperate with us today.”

Mumtaz Ahmed, the lawyer for the Muslim side, said on the ASI survey, “We are satisfied with the ASI survey. Until yesterday we were not participating in the survey but today we are participating and assisting the ASI team.”

On Friday, 4th August 2023, the Supreme Court dismissed the plea of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee (AIMC) challenging the ASI survey of the disputed structure at the Gyanvapi complex in Varanasi. A team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Friday morning arrived at the Gyanvapi structure premises adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi and started a scientific survey of the complex amid tight security. Notably, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday, 3rd August 2023, allowed the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a survey of the Allahabad High Court dismissed Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee’s plea, challenging the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey of the disputed structure.

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