The Varanasi District Court has granted permission for a “scientific survey” of the entire Gyanvapi mosque premises by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), with the exception of the barricaded ‘wazukhana’ area, where Hindu litigants claim a ‘shivling’ exists. The survey was sought by four women worshippers who wish to determine if the mosque was constructed over a pre-existing Hindu temple structure. The ASI has been directed to submit its scientific report by August 4.
It is anticipated that this order may be challenged in higher courts. Last year, the Supreme Court had directed the sealing of the ‘wazukhana’ area.
Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the petitioners, confirmed that their application had been approved, allowing the ASI survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, excluding the sealed Wazu tank.
The application, submitted in May by the four women worshippers, contends that the Gyanvapi Mosque, situated adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, exhibits indications of an ancient Hindu temple. They assert that a Swayambhu Jyotirlinga existed at the site for countless years but was repeatedly destroyed or damaged by “Muslim Invaders” with animosity towards non-believers and idol worshippers, starting with Mahmud Ghazni’s attack in 1017 AD.
The application also mentions that Aurangzeb, a Mughal Emperor known for his fanaticism, issued a decree in 1669 to demolish the Temple of Lord Adivisheshwar at the same site, and his subordinates executed this order by destroying the said temple.
Mr. Jain had earlier argued that the dispute between the Kashi Vishwanath temple and Gyanvapi mosque could only be resolved through an archaeological investigation of the entire mosque complex.
The Mosque committee had opposed the plea, expressing concerns that an ASI survey might cause damage to the complex.
On May 19, the Supreme Court postponed the “scientific survey,” which includes carbon dating, of a ‘Shivling’ allegedly discovered at the Gyanvapi mosque complex during a videographic survey conducted last year.