Gyanvapi mosque: Muslim side ‘boycotts’ as ASI conducts complex survey. 10 points

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Gyanvapi mosque survey updates: A 30-member team of ASI entered the Gyanvapi complex on Monday morning to carry out a scientific survey.

Forty people, including a 30-member team of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), entered the Gyanvapi complex on Monday morning to carry out a scientific survey in accordance with court orders to determine if the mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi was built upon a temple.

Here are the latest updates on Gyanvapi mosque complex survey:

1, Besides the ASI officials, four Hindu women plaintiffs and their counsels, and councils for the Gyanvapi mosque management committee are also present inside the Gyanvapi complex.

2. The Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee said it was not participating in the survey. The committee's joint secretary SM Yasin said, “We have boycotted the ASI survey. Neither we nor our advocate are present there (in the Gyanvapi mosque) during the ASI survey. We are not participating in it."

Citing the Supreme Court hearing scheduled for Monday on the order for the survey, the lawyers of the Muslim side demanded that the date for the exercise be postponed.

3. Late on Sunday evening, district magistrate (DM) S Rajalingam had said the ASI team had reached Varanasi and the survey proceedings inside the Gyanvapi mosque campus would begin from 7 am on Monday.

4. Varanasi Police Commissioner Ashok Mutha Jain and the DM held a meeting with both the Hindu and Muslim sides to the dispute on Sunday night to share information about the survey with them.

5. The Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), a method which uses radar pulses to scan the upper surface, is being used inside the complex. GPR helps conduct archaeological surveys without breaking ground to identify any artifacts buried underneath, to observe changes in the soil, etc. It is a non-destructive scientific method of conducting surveys.

5. On Friday, district judge AK Vishvesh directed the ASI to conduct a detailed scientific survey -- including excavations, wherever necessary -- to determine if the mosque in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh was built at a place where a temple existed earlier.

6. The petition was filed in May by five women who in another plea had earlier sought permission to pray at the “Shringar Gauri Sthal” inside the shrine complex. A structure — claimed to be a “Shivling” by the Hindu side and a “fountain” by the Muslim side — was also found on May 16 last year during a court-mandated survey of the mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

7. The mosque's "wazookhana" (a small reservoir for Muslim devotees to perform ritual ablutions), where a structure claimed by the Hindu litigants to be a "Shivling" exists, will not be part of the survey, following an earlier Supreme Court order protecting that spot in the complex.

8. The judge has directed the ASI to submit a report to the court by August 4, along with video clips and photographs of the survey proceedings.

9. Earlier, the Supreme Court had ordered the protection of the area around the claimed 'shivling', found when another court ordered a video survey of the complex

10. Ram Sewak Gautam, DCP Kashi Zone, said all devotees are smoothly having the ‘darshan’ and all the security arrangements are in place.

Hindustan Times