Gyanvapi: The videography survey of Gyanbapi Mosque Complex has been conducted peacefully

The videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi, which was resumed on Saturday following a local court order, was carried out without any hindrance with the cooperation of all parties, officials said.

They said the survey work would continue on Sunday.

The survey was postponed last week amid objections from the mosque committee, which claimed that there was no order to film inside the premises of the court-appointed advocate commissioner for the survey.

“The survey was conducted peacefully. No one objected. Everything was normal and favorable, and all parties cooperated,” Varanasi Police Commissioner A. Satish Ganesh told PTI.

“Today’s survey is over, and will continue tomorrow,” he said.

Varanasi District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said, “Videography of Gyanvapi Mosque Complex was held on Saturday amid tight security and about 50 per cent survey work has been completed.”

“The survey will continue on Sunday. It was conducted from 8 am to 12 noon. The police commissioner of Varanasi and a trustee of the Kashi Bishwanath Mandir Trust were also present during the survey,” Sharma said.

“More than 50 per cent of the sites have been surveyed. The survey work is confidential, and court-supervised. Therefore, information on where the survey was conducted and what was found cannot be shared now,” he added.

Sharma further said that all the teams were satisfied with Saturday’s survey and it will start again on Sunday.

All parties, their lawyers, court commissioners and videographers were present during the survey, Sharma said.

The mosque is located near the iconic Kashi Bishwanath temple, and a local court is hearing an application by a group of women seeking permission to offer daily prayers in front of the statue on its outer wall.

An important meeting was held with all parties concerned on Friday, Sharma said earlier, adding that a request had been made to them to cooperate in the work of the commission and in maintaining law and order.

More than 1,500 police and PAC personnel have been deployed as part of the security measures.

Officials said the movement of people was stopped at a distance of 500 meters from the Gyanvapi complex. Police have also stopped the movement of vehicles coming from Godaulia and Maidagin areas of the city.

Before entering the Gyanvapi premises, Advocate Madan Mohan Yadav, appearing for the Hindu side, said all the members of the survey team were asked to gather at Gate 4 of the Kashi Bishwanath Temple Complex at 7.30 am.

He said that special lights and cameras have been provided for conducting the survey work.

The mosque’s management committee has indicated it will co-operate with the court-appointed party for the time being.

Lawyers and advocates from both sides came out of the complex and declined to comment.

In his order on Thursday, District Civil Court (Senior Division) Judge Ravi Kumar Divakar rejected an application by the Mosque Committee to replace Ajay Kumar Mishra, who had appointed an Advocate Commissioner by him to survey the Gyanbapi-Gauri Sringar complex.

The judge appointed two more advocates to assist the commissioner with the survey and said it should be completed by Tuesday.

Hindu and Muslim lawyers were present at the meeting of the district magistrate on Friday.

Also on Friday, the Supreme Court refused to issue an interim order on the status quo in the survey. The apex court, however, agreed to consider the list of petitions filed by a Muslim party against the survey.

The survey was adjourned due to objections from the mosque committee, who had accused the advocate commissioner of bias and applied for his transfer.

Advocate Yadav said a videography team would conduct the survey, in addition to three court-appointed advocate commissioners, five lawyers from each side and an assistant.

People take part in Friday prayers under tight security outside the mosque.

In its order on Thursday, the district court said the lock should be broken if the key to access certain areas of the complex is not found for the survey.

If the survey is not allowed, it has asked the district authorities to register an FIR.

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