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Varanasi Court Says Survey of Gyanvapi Mosque Premises to Continue, Court Commissioner not to be Removed

A plea was filed by the Gyanvapi mosque management committee seeking removal of Ajay Kumar Mishra as the court commissioner for the survey. They also opposed videography inside the mosque premises.

A local court in Varanasi on Thursday ordered that video survey will continue in the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishvanath temple premises and the commissioner, appointed earlier by the Court, will not be removed.

A plea was filed by the Gyanvapi mosque management committee (Anjuman Intezamiya Masjid) seeking the removal of Ajay Kumar Mishra as the court commissioner for the survey.

The Court has now appointed two more lawyers, Vishal Kumar Singh and Ajay Singh, as commissioners to accompany Court commissioner Mishra for the survey. The commission has been ordered to submit a report before the court by May 17, the LiveLaw reported.

The court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar has also ordered that the entire mosque complex be surveyed and further directed that till the survey is not completed, it shall continue.

After hearing arguments of both sides on Wednesday, the court has reserved its decision for Thursday.

The Court had last month ordered an inspection of the premises five Hindu women filed a petition asking for year-long access to pray at a Hindu shrine that is behind the western wall of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi.

The local court had earlier directed the authorities to submit a report by May 10, however, the survey could not take place as the mosque committee had opposed videography inside the mosque

While the survey was on, a ruckus took place outside the mosque as the masjid committee members demanded the survey and videography be stopped, LiveLaw reported.

Thereafter, a petition was filed on behalf of the Anjuman Islamia Masajid Committee demanding the removal of Advocate Commissioner Mishra.

After hearing arguments of both sides for three days, the Court ordered that the survey of the premises shall continue.

According to the LiveLaw report, the Hindu parties argued that the Advocate Commissioner was not allowed to do videography and survey by the Muslim party on the other side of the barricading i.e. inside the Gyanvapi Masjid and in the basement. The Hindu parties also submitted that the Muslim party prevented the commissioner from going inside the Gyanvapi mosque and inside the basement claiming that there was no such order of the court.

The court had ordered directing the DGP UP and Chief Secretary, UP Govt to supervise the survey process so that public officials cannot delay the work. Meanwhile, the district authorities have been asked to lodge FIR and ensure legal action against anyone who obstructs the survey work inside the premises.

On Wednesday, the joint secretary of Anjuman Intezamiya Masjid Syed Mohammad Yasin told PTI that there is barricading all around Gyanvapi Masjid and the Hindu side is talking about videography of the two basements located beneath the mosque by opening them.

However, lawyer Shivam Gaur, representing the Hindu side, claimed that in the order for videography-survey issued by the court on April 26, the matter of videography by going inside the barricading is also included.

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