Supreme Court Stays Gyanvapi Mosque Survey Until July 26, Halts ASI Investigation

Gyanvapi Mosque Survey: No ASI survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex is permitted until 5 p.m. on July 26, according to the Supreme Court. The High Court’s order won’t go into effect until July 26. The mosque committee will petition the High Court in the interim. A request for a halt of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey on the Varanasi property was made on Monday by the management committee of the Gyanvapi mosque. This occurred as a survey by a 30-person ASI team was starting at the Gyanvapi mosque today. They want to know if the mosque was constructed on a former Hindu temple. The Muslim petitioners claimed in their complaint that the Supreme Court had previously postponed similar orders for the ASI survey.

Muslim Petitioners Raise Concerns Over Mosque Access and Court’s Decisions

The plea argued that the order for a survey, which includes excavation of the entire property, is certain to obstruct Muslim access to the mosque. It said that creating an interim arrangement while the court was hearing these cases went against both the letter and the spirit of the Supreme Court‘s decisions. In light of a recent district court ruling requiring an ASI assessment in the grounds of the Gyanvapi mosque, the Muslim side is requesting an urgent listing of the case. The appeal also contests the ruling of the Allahabad High Court, which affirmed five Hindu women’s right to pray in the Gyanvapi mosque.

ASI to Submit Report, Conduct Excavation, and GPR Scans at Gyanvapi Mosque

District Judge AK Vishvesh issued a directive to the ASI last Friday (July 21), asking them to submit a report to the court by August 4 along with recordings and pictures of the survey’s activities. Additionally, the court mandated that an excavation be done there “if necessary” and that GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) equipment be used to assess the area “just below the three domes” of the building in question. A previous Supreme Court decision preserving that area of the complex, the wazukhana of the mosque, would not be surveyed since it is home to a structure that the Hindu petitioners believe to be a shivling. The Masjid Committee asserted that the Supreme Court’s May ruling delaying the survey of a stated shivling was clearly violated by the district court’s subsequent judgement allowing the ASI study.

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