A court-mandated videography survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex, which was carried out for the third consecutive day, concluded on Monday amid tight security, while the Varanasi High Court ordered the immediate sealing off of the pond inside the mosque where a shivling has been allegedly found.
The survey of the mosque complex, which started at 8 am, concluded at around 10:15 am. The mosque is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple and the local court is hearing a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols on its outer walls.
"After working for over two hours, the court commission concluded its work on Monday at around 10.15 am. All parties were satisfied with the work," Varanasi District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma told reporters here.
In another claim, the lawyer representing the Hindu women has claimed that a shiva linga has been found in the pond inside the mosque complex. "The pond was used for ablution (wuzu) purification rituals," lawyer Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi said, adding that water was drained from the pond and a shiva linga was allegedly found, according to a report by NDTV.
A Varanasi court has now ordered the immediate sealing off of the pond after a plea from the petitioners. It directed the Varanasi District Magistrate to ensure that nobody is allowed to enter the area.
The survey was stalled last week amid objections by the mosque committee, which claimed that the advocate commissioner appointed by the court for the survey did not have the mandate to film inside the premises.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BREAKING?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BREAKING</a> Varanasi Court orders to immediately seal the place where "Shivling" is found in the survey in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gyanvapi?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Gyanvapi</a> mosque and prohibits the entry of any person in the sealed place.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GyanvapiMosque?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GyanvapiMosque</a> <a href="https://t.co/oy9WRFDuE2">pic.twitter.com/oy9WRFDuE2</a></p>— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) <a href="https://twitter.com/LiveLawIndia/status/1526106347317493760?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 16, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
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.