In a significant development, the Allahabad High Court has granted permission to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a comprehensive survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi. The survey aims to shed light on the historical origins of the site and address the contentious claim that the mosque was built by demolishing the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
Representing the Hindu side in the Gyanvapi survey case, Vishnu Shankar Jain expressed his satisfaction with the court’s decision, stating that the Allahabad HC upheld the Sessions court order allowing the ASI survey to proceed. The survey will assess the Gyanvapi mosque complex, excluding the Wazukhana that houses a structure claimed to be a Shivling.
The Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister, Keshav Prasad Maurya, welcomed the verdict, expressing confidence that the truth would emerge after the ASI survey, and the Gyanvapi issue would be resolved. However, the survey was initially put on hold by the Allahabad High Court upon the ongoing hearing of the matter after the Supreme Court issued an order to suspend the survey until July 26, 5 pm.
The Gyanvapi mosque case has seen several legal twists. The Supreme Court previously rectified an order in relation to the case, inadvertently disposing of an appeal by a committee questioning the maintainability of a suit by Hindus seeking worship rights inside the mosque.
The controversy surrounding the Gyanvapi mosque came to the forefront when a structure, claimed to be a Shivling by the Hindu side and a fountain by the Muslim side, was found within the mosque premises during a court-mandated survey on May 16 last year. This led to a demand for a scientific survey and carbon dating of the purported Shivling.
On May 12, 2022, the Allahabad High Court allowed the scientific survey of the Shivling, but the Supreme Court stayed this order on May 19, 2022. The High Court had earlier set aside a Varanasi District judge’s order rejecting the application for the scientific survey and carbon dating of the Shivling.
The ASI survey holds significant importance as it aims to provide an objective assessment of the Gyanvapi mosque complex’s historical heritage. By addressing the contentious claims and offering an unbiased evaluation, it is hoped that the survey will pave the way for a fair resolution to the longstanding dispute surrounding the site.