ASI allowed to Survey Kashi Temple, Gyanvapi Mosque

New Delhi, Apr 8 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 4/8/2021 1:23:39 PM IST

In a significant development having far-reaching impact, a Varanasi Court on Thursday gave its approval for survey of Kashi Vishwanath temple and Gyanvapi Mosque complex by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The court further directed the Uttar Pradesh government to bear the cost of the survey.

In what is considered as a consequence of the Ayodhya verdict by the Supreme Court, the court order came on a petition filed by a local lawyer VS Rastogi, who had demanded that the land entailing the Gyanvapi Mosque be restored to Hindus. The petitioner claimed that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1664 pulled down a portion of the 2000-year-old Kashi Vishwanath temple to build the mosque in its place. The Gyanvyapi Mosque management committee had opposed the petition.

In 1998, Anjuman Intazamiya committee moved the high court contending that the dispute cannot be adjudicated by a civil court. The high court did not pass an order in the matter and also didn’t stay the proceedings in the lower court. A sensitive issue, it was left untouched for years. The matter gained attention in 2019 again as the Hindu side pursued the matter.

On Thursday, the Varanasi court passed an order allowing the ASI to constitute a team of 5 people, of which 2 will be from the minority community. Giving its permission for the ASI survey of the mosque, the court said that all the expenses are to borne by the state government.

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