The Allahabad High Court on Thursday gave its nod for a ‘scientific survey’ of the mosque saying that it was warranted in the interest of justice.
The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has resumed its survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi to determine if it was built over a Hindu temple. The mosque committee has challenged the survey in the Supreme Court.
Here are 10 points on this big story:
- The Allahabad High Court on Thursday gave its nod for a ‘scientific survey’ of the mosque saying that it was warranted in the interest of justice.
- The survey began at around 7 am. The ASI team members, along with the representatives of the Hindu petitioners to a legal dispute involving the mosque, were present inside the complex under watertight security arrangements.
- Several BJP leaders welcomed the high court verdict, saying the “truth” about the temple at the site will now come out.
- The mosque committee has challenged the ruling in Supreme Court, a request that will be heard later today. They are also boycotting the survey.
- One of the parties from the Hindu side has also filed a caveat in the Supreme Court saying no orders be passed without hearing them in the matter.
- The Hindu petitioners contend that a temple existed earlier at the site and it was demolished in the 17th Century on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
- Earlier, the Supreme Court had barred any survey inside the mosque complex. The mosque’s ‘wazukhana’ — where a structure that the petitioners claimed was a ‘shivling’ — will not be within the ambit of the fresh survey in keeping with the Supreme Court order.
- The ‘scientific survey’ was ordered by a Varanasi district court on July 21 after four women filed a petition claiming that it was the only way to determine if the landmark mosque was built after razing a Hindu temple.
- The survey started on July 24, but it was stayed within hours by the Supreme Court after the mosque committee approached it.
- The mosque committee had argued that the structure is over a thousand years old and any digging might destabilise it, leading to its collapse. The committee had also argued that any such survey is in violation of existing laws around religious places.