Curated By: Poulami Kundu
Last Updated: February 05, 2024, 10:19 IST
The wazukhana (an ablution pond where worshippers wash themselves before praying at the mosque) was sealed in 2022 after a Supreme Court order. (Photo: PTI/File)
The Supreme Court will hear a plea seeking a scientific survey of the disputed Gyanvapi complex in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi on Monday (February 5).
The Supreme Court is set to hear a petition demanding the scientific survey of the ‘wazukhana’ and the surrounding sealed areas of the disputed Gyanvapi complex in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi today (Monday, February 5).
The wazukhana (an ablution pond where worshippers wash themselves before praying at the mosque) was sealed in 2022 after a Supreme Court order. The Hindu side has claimed that the fountain-like structure in the wazukhana is a ‘Shivling’.
“Direct the Director General of Archaeological Survey of India to conduct the necessary investigation/ survey of the Shivlingam for determining the nature of Shivlingam and associated features without causing any damage to the Shivlingam situated within the sealed area,” the plea stated, adding that the ASI should undertake survey of the entire sealed area by excavation and using other scientific methods and submit its report before the court.
The plea also demands another survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the 10 cellars inside the complex.
Last Wednesday, the Allahabad High Court issued a notice to the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages the Gyanvapi mosque, on a plea challenging a Varanasi court’s refusal to direct the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey of the ‘wazukhana’ area in the mosque complex.
The order was passed by Justice Rohit Ranjan Agrawal on a revision petition filed by Rakhi Singh, who is one of the plaintiffs in the Shringar Gauri worshipping suit, which is presently pending before the Varanasi district court.
In the application she had filed before the Varanasi court, Singh’s primary contention was that the survey of the ‘wazukhana’, excluding its portion where a ‘Shivling’ was claimed to be found, is necessary to ascertain the religious character of the property in question.
The district judge court had rejected Singh’s application on October 21, 2023. The judge had observed that in an order passed on May 17, 2022, the apex court had directed to protect the area where the ‘Shivling’ is stated to have been found and therefore, it is not proper to direct the ASI to survey the area.
In High Court, Justice Manish Nigam earlier withdrew himself from hearing the case. On Wednesday, it was listed before justice Rohit Ranjan Agrawal after nomination by the chief justice. The Varanasi district court had on July 21 last year directed the ASI to conduct a “detailed scientific survey” — including excavations, wherever necessary — to determine if the mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple was built on the remain of a temple.
(With PTI inputs)