Gyanvapi mosque case: Videography begins amid heavy police deployment; mosque management on board

Image Source : PTI

Security personnel outside the court during hearing of the Gyanvapi mosque survey case, in Varanasi.

Gyanvapi mosque case: The stalled videography survey of Gyanvapi Masjid complex resumed on Saturday morning. The mosque management committee has indicated that it will cooperate for now with the team assigned the task by a local court. “An important meeting was held with all the concerned parties on Friday. An appeal was made to them to cooperate in the commission’s work and the maintenance of law and order,” Varanasi district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said. A mosque committee member said it is waiting for the Supreme Court ruling on the matter but till then it will cooperate with the district court, which has ordered the survey. Lawyers representing the Hindu and Muslim sides were present at meeting held Friday by the district magistrate.

Plea by women led to survey

The mosque is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple and the local court is hearing a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols on its outer walls.

Court turned down plea by mosque committee to replace advocate commissioner

In his order on Thursday, District Civil Court (Senior Division) judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar turned down a plea by the mosque committee to replace Ajay Kumar Mishra, who was appointed advocate commissioner by him to survey the Gyanvapi-Gauri Shringar complex. The judge also appointed two more advocates to help the commissioner with the survey and said it should be completed by Tuesday.

SC refused to grant interim order of status quo

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant an interim order of status quo on the survey. The top court, however, agreed to consider listing the plea of a Muslim party against the survey. Earlier, in the day, a counsel for the mosque panel had said the local court’s order was not final and it may be challenged it in the High Court. “We have four days to challenge this order. We can challenge the order in the high court after consultations,” advocate Abhay Nath Yadav had said. When asked about the hearing on the plea before the Supreme Court, the lawyer had said he does not know much about it.

Survey was earlier stalled amid objections by mosque committee

The survey was stalled last week amid objections by the mosque committee, which claimed that the advocate commissioner did not have the mandate to film inside the premises. The committee accused him of bias and filed a plea for his replacement.

Who will carry out the survey?

Advocate Madan Mohan Yadav, who is appearing for the Hindu side, 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. People attended Friday prayers amid tight security outside the mosque. In its order Thursday, the district court said locks should be broken if the keys are not available to access certain areas of the complex for the survey. It also asked the district authorities to register FIRs if the survey was not allowed.

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