Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh | Image: Twitter
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday allowed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to resume its scientific survey of Gyanvapi mosque complex, saying that it was "necessary in the interest of justice". Dismissing the Mosque Committee's challenge to the ASI survey of premises, the court asked the ASI to carry out its research in compliance with the affidavit filed by it in court. This survey excludes the 'Wazukhana' area which has been sealed.
Speaking about the verdict, Vishnu Shankar Jain, the advocate for the Hindu side, said, "The court has rejected the Muslim side and it is a big win for us."
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister KP Maurya said that the government welcomed the verdict. "The truth will come out now from the ASI survey," he added.
Reacting to the verdict, Muslim cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali said that the Muslim side has the option to challenge it in Supreme Court. "We hope that justice will be done because Muslims have been offering namaz here for the past 600 years," he added.
The ASI began its scientific survey of the mosque complex, adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, on July 24 with a 30-member team of experts. The team arrived at the Gyanvapi mosque on the morning of July 24, with tight security measures in place. The survey, however, was halted following a Supreme Court order.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath recently addressed the controversy surrounding the Gyanvapi case, telling an interviewer that labelling the structure a mosque has been a 'historical mistake'. In his July 31 interview with news agency ANI, Adityanath questioned what were Hindu symbols and deities doing inside the premises of Gyanvapi.
Responding to a question, the UP Chief Minister said, "If we call it a mosque, then that is a controversy. I feel God has given us eyes to see. What is a trishul doing inside a masjid? We did not keep it. There's jyotirling, idols of deities inside the mosque. The walls of the complex tell us the truth. I feel the Muslim side must give a proposal admitting that there has been a historical mistake and that mistake should be corrected.”
In September 2022, the Varanasi District and Sessions Court rejected a plea by the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, which manages the Gyanvapi mosque complex, that challenged the maintainability of the civil suits filed by five Hindu women in August 2021 seeking the right to worship Maa Shringar Gauri at the outer wall of the complex. The lawsuit was filed based on the belief that a Hindu temple had existed at the site, which was demolished during Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's reign and a mosque was built in its stead.