Survey Resumes Amid Tight Security, Mosque Committee Indicates Cooperation


New Delhi: Amidst the controversy and court hearings, the videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi resumed on Saturday with tight security arrangements, officials told news agency PTI. 

The mosque management committee has also indicated that it will cooperate with the survey team that has been assigned the task for now. 

“The authorised persons — all parties, their advocates, court commissioners, and videographers — have reached the spot, and the survey has started,” District Magistrate of Varanasi Kaushal Raj Sharma told PTI.

In order to maintain the law and order situation, a meeting was held with all concerned parties on Friday, Sharma said earlier, adding that an appeal was made to cooperate in the commission’s work. 

Police Commissioner of Varanasi A Satish Ganesh also told PTI that the survey has started.

The Gyanvapi mosque is located close to the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the local court is hearing a plea by a group of local women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols of Shringar Gauri on the mosque’s outer wall. 

Earlier, the mosque management committee had urged the court to replace the advocate commissioner appointed to conduct the survey. On Thursday,  District Civil Court (Senior Division) judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar had turned down the plea and set the survey to be completed by May 17. In addition, Judge Diwakar also appointed two more advocates to help the commissioner with the survey. 

Meanwhile, on Friday, the Supreme Court also refused to grant an interim order of status quo on the survey. However, it agreed to consider listing the plea of the Muslim party against the survey. 

The survey was stalled last week due to objections by the mosque committee who claimed that the survey team did not have the mandate to film inside the premises. The committee also accused the advocate commissioner of being biased and filed a plea for his replacement. 

As per a PTI report, Advocate Madan Mohan Yadav, who is appearing for the Hindu side, had said the three court-appointed advocate commissioners, five lawyers each from the two sides, and an assistant besides a videography team will carry out the survey.

On Thursday, the district court ordered that the locks should be broken if the keys are not available to access certain areas of the complex to complete the survey. 

It also asked the district authorities to register FIRs if the survey was not allowed. 

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