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Updated February 6th, 2024 at 16:15 IST

Fresh Plea Filed in Varanasi Court Seeking ASI Survey of Remaining Cellars

A Hindu petitioner, on Monday, filed a fresh plea in the Varanasi Court demanding an ASI survey.

Radhika Dhawad
Fresh Plea Filed in Varanasi Court Seeking ASI Survey of Remaining Cellars
Fresh Plea Filed in Varanasi Court Seeking ASI Survey of Remaining Cellars | Image:File/ANI
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Varanasi: A Hindu petitioner, on Monday, filed a fresh petition in the Varanasi Court demanding an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey of the remaining cellars in the Gyanvapi complex.

The petitioner, named Rakhi Singh, in the application stated that the ASI must conduct the study after removing the blocked entrance and debris. She insisted that the survey of the remaining cellars was crucial to ascertain the religious character of the area. 

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Singh, in her petition, has claimed that since the entrances of some of the basements inside the mosque were blocked, a survey couldn't be done. She added that the court must direct the ASI to survey the cellars without causing any damage to the structure.

Singh is a founding member of the Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh and is one of the parties in the Maa Shringar Gauri case, which led to the survey of the complex by ASI.

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In the petition, she asked for all closed cellars in the Gyanvapi mosque complex, adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, to be surveyed by the ASI, her advocate Anupam Dwivedi said.

He said a map of the closed basements has also been included in the petition. The petition said there are 'secret cellars' inside the basements, and it is necessary to survey them also so that the 'entire truth' of the Gyanvapi mosque is revealed.

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Following an earlier petition by five women devotees, the court had ordered the ASI to conduct a survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, barring the “wazukhana” used for ritual ablutions before namaz.
The southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque was opened last week and a priest performed prayers.

The court had allowed regular prayers in the cellar on the petition by Shailendra Kumar Pathak, who claimed that his maternal grandfather, priest Somnath Vyas, used to perform prayers there till December 1993.
According to Pathak's counsel, the access to the cellar was closed for the priest during Mulayam Singh Yadav’s term as Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
The prayers at the cellar are being performed by a priest nominated by the Kashi Vishwanath temple trust. Devotees to the temple have also begun going past the opening in the barricade, created after the court order, to have a glimpse of the cellar.

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Hindu litigants claim that a temple was destroyed during Aurangzeb’s rule to build Gyanvapi mosque. The recent ASI survey also suggested this. 

The Hindu side recently claimed that there were four idols already placed in the basement when it was opened for worship.

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Mufti-e-Sheher Maulana Abdul Batim Nomani, the topmost Muslim cleric in Varanasi, on Sunday, alleged there were no idols in the basement of the Gyanvapi Mosque when the district court allowed Hindus to worship there on January 31.

Nomani, who's also the Secretary of the Mosque Management Committee, said, "They (the Hindu side) planted the idols in the southern part of the basement the same night with the help of local administration and began worshipping them."

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(with PTI inputs)

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Published February 5th, 2024 at 15:28 IST

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