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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi case: Video survey set to resume today, security stepped up

Administration says people from both sides have assured full cooperation

By: Express News Service | Varanasi |
Updated: May 14, 2022 8:13:18 am
Devotees leave after offering Friday prayers at Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi. (PTI)

The court-ordered videography survey of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi will resume on Saturday, with officials making elaborate security arrangements to ensure no untoward incident takes place during the exercise.

Stating that “an atmosphere of fear has been created”, a Varanasi court had Thursday ordered the resumption of the video survey of the complex, which was halted last week following allegations of bias against the official in charge — even if it meant getting “locks opened/ broken”. The survey report should be submitted on May 17, it had said.

Speaking to The Indian Express, advocate Abhay Nath Yadav, one of the lawyers representing the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, said, “The administration has spoken with people from both sides. Everyone is on board and the survey will begin on Saturday from 8 am to 12 noon.”

Madan Mohan Yadav, a lawyer representing the Hindu women petitioners, confirmed the same: “The Commission members and the three advocate commissioners will also be present during the survey on Saturday morning.”

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While passing an order Thursday on an application filed by the mosque committee, which had accused court-appointed Advocate Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra of being “biased”, the court appointed two additional commissioners — lawyers Vishal Singh and Ajay Pratap Singh — to assist him.

Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar said top district officials “have the responsibility” to complete the survey by the court-appointed Commission, and directed the DGP and the Chief Secretary to supervise “related action”.

A senior official with the Varanasi district administration said all arrangements have been made to ensure the inspection proceeds smoothly. “We have spoken to people on both sides, and they have assured us of full cooperation,” said the official.

A mosque official said that they have appealed to people in the locality to not create any hindrance. “We respect the court, and its orders will be followed. We have made repeated appeals to the people in the neighbourhood to not create any hindrance in the work of the Commission on Saturday,” said the mosque official.

The court had also ordered to register an FIR “if anyone creates any hindrance”. “Under no condition should the Commission’s work be stopped, even if any of the petitioners cooperate or not,” said the court.

After starting on Friday last, the video inspection was halted on Saturday after the masjid committee filed an application in the court, alleging “bias”.

Filed in August 2021, five women petitioners sought the protection of their right to religion guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution and orders to the defendants (mosque committee) to not create any hindrance in worshipping at the
disputed site.

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