Hours after the court-mandated videographer survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex concluded on Monday, a Varanasi court ordered sealing of a pond in the complex after lawyers representing the Hindu petitioners said a Shivling was found there during the court-mandated videography survey.
The court also directed District Magistrate, Police Commissioner and CRPF Commandment, Varanasi, to ensure the protection of the sealed place where ‘shivling’ has been allegedly found. After the court-mandated survey was completed, a lawyer representing the Hindu side submitted a petition in the local court alleging that a ‘shivling’ was found.
A mosque management committee member disputed the claim, saying the object was part of the water fountain mechanism at the “wazookhana” reservoir -– where devotees carry out ablutions before offering namaz.The survey team’s report will be submitted before the district court on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court is also expected to hear this week a petition filed earlier against the survey ordered by a Varanasi district court.
Judge Diwakar accepted the application from Hindu petitioners’ advocate Harishankar Jain, who argued that the “Shivling” found during Monday’s survey was “important evidence”.The application urged the court to direct the CRPF to seal the spot. It also asked the court to restrict the number of people offering namaz at the mosque.
The survey of the mosque complex, located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple, concluded on Monday morning after being conducted for three consecutive days. The local court is hearing a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols on its outer walls.
In his order on Thursday last, District Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar had turned down a plea by the mosque committee to replace Ajay Kumar Mishra, who was appointed advocate commissioner by the court to survey the Gyanvapi-Gauri Shringar complex.
The judge also appointed two more advocates to help the court commissioner with the survey and said it should be completed by Tuesday.
The district court had said that locks should be broken if the keys are not available to access certain areas of the complex for the survey. It also asked district authorities to register FIRs if the survey was not allowed.
The Supreme Court had on Friday last refused to grant an interim order of status quo on the survey. The top court, however, agreed to consider listing the plea of a Muslim party against the survey. Three court-appointed advocate commissioners, five lawyers each from the two sides and an assistant besides a videography team carried out the survey.