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Varanasi Court Grants ASI Four-Week Extension For Gyanvapi Mosque Survey

The survey aims to determine whether the 17th-century masjid was built upon a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple, rekindling a historical controversy that has divided communities for years.

In the eye of a storm Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi
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Varanasi's local court has granted the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) a crucial four-week extension to conduct a scientific survey inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex, with the deadline set for September 2. The ASI's survey aims to ascertain whether the 17th-century masjid was built over the remains of a pre-existing Hindu temple, stirring a historical debate that has long divided communities, according to Hindustan Times.

The survey commenced on Friday, but the ASI team temporarily suspended their activities around noon to allow Muslims to offer prayers in the mosque. At 2:30 pm, the survey resumed as per schedule. The court has reserved the matter for further hearing on September 2, indicating the significance of the findings to be presented.

Earlier, on August 3, the Allahabad high court dismissed the plea from the Muslim side that the survey might harm the mosque's structure, upholding the continuation of the survey. The Supreme Court, on August 4, affirmed this decision and instructed the use of non-invasive methods during the operation.

The ASI team completed the day-long survey at 5 pm, capturing images and layouts of structures within the complex. Interestingly, counsels from the Hindu side reported the discovery of fragmented idol remains in the debris, providing fodder for the ongoing debate.

Of note, the masjid committee, following the Supreme Court's ruling, decided to cooperate with the survey after previously boycotting it on Friday. The decision to participate marks a significant development in the investigation.

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