Varanasi: Survey of Gyanvapi complex's basement, western wall completed
VARANASI: A 54-member team, led by advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra, conducted the survey of the Gyanvapi complex basement and the western wall on Saturday.
Conducted between 8am and 12 noon under the security cover of over 1,500 security personnel, the survey and videography work was performed without any hindrance. The remaining survey of the upper part of the complex would be done on Sunday after which a report would be submitted before the civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar.
“More than 50% of the survey work has been completed on Saturday. All the four basements and the western wall of the mosque have been covered under it. The remaining survey would be done on Sunday. As the external part of the mosque had already been surveyed on May 6, only the domes and the main mosque building are left to be covered as ordered by the court,” DM Kaushal Raj Sharma said.
District officials told TOI that Anjuman Intejamia Masajid (AIM) members, who had earlier moved court for the removal of advocate commissioner, fully cooperated in the survey. “They opened the locks of the two basements in their possession while the lock of the third had to be broken as it did not open with a key. The fourth basement was in possession of the Vyas family and it remains open," they added.
Thanking all parties for their cooperation, commissioner of police, A Satish Ganesh, said, “As per the order of the court, the survey process has been done in a peaceful atmosphere.” He also praised the people of Kashi for extending all support in maintaining peace in the city.
The survey team comprised members from both parties, their advocates, court commissioners and videographers. Not a single other person was allowed inside the complex. Even the survey team members were asked to surrender their mobile phones before entering the premises. Only video cameras and lighting equipment were allowed inside.
Earlier, all roads leading to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex were fully fortified by the police and even pedestrians were not allowed on the road between the Maidagin and Godowlia areas where the complex is situated. The media was also stopped at these two points and denied movement towards the complex.
Almost 30 minutes before the scheduled start, the district administration and police ensured that all persons of both parties, led by advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra, reached inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex.
The CP, who was personally monitoring the security arrangements, was the first to come out of the Gyanvapi mosque premises a few minutes before the survey hours were fixed by the court while some lawyers of the plaintiffs’ side also followed him. Movement of people was allowed between Godowlia and Maidagin crossings only after the advocate commissioner and people associated with the both parties left the area.
After coming out, Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh chief Jitendra Singh Visen, one of the plaintiffs, claimed that the facts regarding construction of a mosque on a temple structure were evident. “But, as the survey is in progress, I will not talk much about it," he added, suggesting that the media should wait for a few days for his detailed comments.
As per the court directive issued on April 26, the advocate commissioner had started the survey and videography on the Gyanvapi premises on May 6 in presence of both parties amid protests. However, the proceedings were stalled on May 7 due to the AIM protest. The AIM also filed a petition in the court on the same day, requesting for change of advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra, accusing him of working under the pressure of the plaintiffs.
However, the court of the civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar on May 12 not only rejected the request of the AIM for changing Mishra as the advocate commissioner, but also appointed Vishal Singh as special advocate commissioner and Ajay Pratap Singh as assistant advocate commissioner. The court also directed the district administration to ensure that the survey was not delayed for any reason. The court also directed to submit the survey report before it on May 17.
In view of the court’s directive, district administration and police held a meeting on Friday with AIM and later finalised the strategy, including the security plan to resume the survey.
The plaintiffs in the case — Rakhi Singh of Delhi and Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak, all natives of Varanasi — had filed a petition on April 18, 2021, seeking permission for daily worship and performing rituals at the idols of Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman and Nandi and stopping the opponents from causing any damage to the statues.
The respondents of the case include Uttar Pradesh Government, AIM and others.