Fresh Plea before Varanasi Fast Track Court for another ASI survey of Gyanvapi

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It has been alleged that ASI's recent report is incomplete if seen in the light of Varanasi court's order dated April 8, 2021

Advocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi, the next friend of Swayambhu Adi Vishweshwara (deity) in the suit filed in 1991 over land title of Gyanvapi (the original suit no. 610/1991), recently filed a fresh application before a Varanasi fast-track court seeking an ASI survey of the entire Gyanvapi complex encompassing the ablution water tank and sealed cellars beneath three domes, in adherence to the Varanasi Court's order passed in April 2021, as modified by the Allahabad High Court.

The application refers to the Varanasi Court's order directing ASI to survey the Gyanvapi complex adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

The mosque management committee, Anjuman Intezamia Masajid was asked by the Civil Judge (Senior Division) Prashant Kumar Singh, presiding over the fast-track court, to submit their objection to Rastogi's petition by today i.e. February 12.

Notably, pursuant to the Varanasi District Judge's order dated July 21, 2023 in a plea in a different suit (the Shringar Gauri Suit), the ASI recently provided its scientific survey report on Gyanvapi to both Hindu plaintiffs and Muslim respondents involved in that suit. The report confirmed the existence of a Hindu temple beneath the current structure of the mosque. It stated, "Based on scientific studies/survey carried out, study of architectural remains, exposed features and artifacts, inscriptions, art and sculptures, it can be said that there existed a Hindu temple prior to the construction of the existing structure".

However, in his plea, Rastogi has claimed that the ASI's report in the other suit is incomplete if seen in the light of the Varanasi court's order of 2021, hence, necessary directions are required to be passed in accordance with the order dated April 8, 2021 passed by the Varanasi Court as modified by the Allahabad High Court

Through his plea, among other directions, Adv Rastogi has sought a survey determining the architectural connection between the site and temples/artifacts, inspecting the structure from ground level to upper floors, and surveying the cellars beneath it.

Specifically, his plea calls for the removal of recently constructed brick walls beneath the central chamber to investigate the existence of the main Swayambhu Jyotirlinga and its Argha without harming the structure. The ASI has been asked to tasked with assessing if the current religious structure is a superimposition, alteration, or addition, and determining its age, size, and materials used.

Additionally, a direction has been sought that the survey should aim to investigate any preceding Hindu temple's existence and details, including its age, size, design, and the deity or deities it was devoted to. Lastly, advanced technologies such as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) or Geo-Redcology System have been proposed to be implemented to assess the need for excavation or extraction work at various portions of the present religious structure.