Updated: June 1, 2022 3:09:01 am
A day after the purported video clips of the court-ordered survey of Gyanvapi mosque complex were leaked to media, the Varanasi district judge court on Tuesday did not accept the sealed envelopes containing the videos and photographs of the survey from the four women petitioners.
Four of the five women petitioners – Rekha Pathak, Manju Vyas, Sita Sahu and Laxmi Devi – had received the copies of the survey’s video clips and photographs from the court on Monday after giving an undertaking that the content of the survey would not be made public without the court’s permission.
However, after the purported videos and photographs of the survey were leaked to media, the four women petitioners moved an application in the court, offering to return the “sealed” envelopes.
Claiming that they had not opened the sealed envelopes, the four petitioners said they were not aware of how the media got hold of the videos and the photographs of the survey. They also demanded a probe into the “leak”.
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“We submitted an application to surrender the sealed envelopes to the court to avoid any accusation against us over the leakage of the videos. Before receiving the videos, we had given an undertaking that the videos will not be made public without the court’s order. Minutes after we received the videos in sealed packets on Monday evening, TV channels started playing the videos. We have not opened the sealed envelopes yet,” Sita Sahu, one of the petitioners, said.
“We have also appealed the court to order a probe and take action against those who leaked the videos,” said Sudhir Tripathi, the counsel of women petitioners.
The counsel of another woman petitioner Rakhi Singh, who had not received a copy of the survey report on Monday, meanwhile filed an application in the district judge’s court seeking a CBI probe into the “leak” of videos.
“I have sought a CBI probe because leakage of videos indicates a major conspiracy. It has become an issue of national security and communal harmony,” Rakhi Singh’s counsel Shivam Gaur said.
Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, the committee that manages the Gyanvapi mosque, too had not received the videos on Monday. Raees Ahmed, the counsel for the mosque management committee, said he raised objections over the leak of videos in the media and urged the court to take action against those behind it.
The court will hear the application on July 4.
District Government Counsel (Civil) Mahendra Prasad Pandey said that since the court will hear the matter on July 4, the copies of the survey report will remain with the women petitioners. Tripathi, the petitioner’s counsel, said the envelopes will remain “safe”.
Sources said the court had received over 117 applications requesting for copies of the commission’s videos and photographs.
On April 8, while hearing a petition filed by five women seeking the right to worship inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex, Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar had appointed Ajay Kumar Mishra as advocate commissioner to carry out a videography survey of the Kashi complex. While passing an order on an application filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid committee, which had accused court-appointed Mishra of being “biased”, the court on May 12 appointed two more advocate commissioners — lawyers Vishal Singh and Ajay Pratap Singh — to assist him. The court later removed Mishra. Singh and Mishra both have submitted separate reports of the survey.
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