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Gyanvapi Mosque: Allahabad High Court Pauses ASI Survey Until Next Hearing Tomorrow

While hearing the Anjuman Mosque Committee's plea, the court expressed its "strong doubts" regarding the work to be carried out by the ASI at the mosque complex. Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker made the oral observation after the ASGI, appearing for the ASI, failed to elaborate on the methodology being used for the survey. 

Gyanvapi Mosque
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The Allahabad High Court has stayed the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) survey of Gyanvapi Masjid till tomorrow. The matter will now be heard at 3:30 pm tomorrow. ASI Official has been directed to appear before the court tomorrow.

"ASI officers were present in the court, and they filed an affidavit mentioning that there would be no cutting, digging (during survey). The Muslim side said they need time to examine the affidavit, therefore, the court granted time till tomorrow," said lawyer Saurabh Tiwary representing Hindu petitioner Rakhi Singh.

Last week, a Varanasi District Court on 21 July, allowed a team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to begin the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises. The said order was passed on an application filed by four Hindu Women Worshippers who are party to a suit filed before the District Court seeking year-round access to worship inside Mosque premises. 

However, the Anjuman Mosque Committee had moved the high court yesterday challenging the order of the Varanasi court directing the ASI to survey the mosque premises. The Supreme Court then stayed the ASI survey till July 26, 5 PM so as to allow some "breathing time" to the Masjid committee to approach the high court. "We're of the view that some breathing time should be given. Impugned order shall not be enforced till 5 pm on 26 July. In the meantime, should the petitioners moved the HC, the RG of HC should ensure that it is placed before appropriate bench before status quo order ends," the top court had said.

"Strong doubts"

While hearing the Anjuman Mosque Committee's plea, the court expressed its "strong doubts" regarding the work to be carried out by the ASI at the mosque complex. Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker made the oral observation after the ASGI, appearing for the ASI, failed to elaborate on the methodology being used for the survey. 

The management committee apprehended that the historic structure may fall during the ASI survey. The court also responded sharply to the mosque committee’s submission that the Hindu side’s lawyer would be responsible if the structure falls.

To the Hindu side’s assurances that no survey will be held in the area sealed under orders from Supreme Court, the mosque committee said that area will also suffer damage if the survey is conducted.

Meanwhile, the top court on July 26 clarified that it was reviving a plea by the Gyanvapi panel which was unintentionally disposed of on July 24 while they stayed the ASI survey on the mosque premises to find out if it was built upon a temple. 

The survey is expected to determine “whether the present structure was constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple."

(This is a developing story. More details are awaited.)

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