Allahabad High Court grilled the management committee of the Gyanvapi mosque situated in Varanasi when it said that it fears that the mosque can fall down. The court asked the committee how it will trust the court’s ruling if it is finding it hard to trust the assurances that the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) is giving. The court also expressed serious ‘doubts’ over the survey.
The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Varanasi District Court’s order allowing the ASI survey till the evening of 26th July. The apex court allowed the Masjid Committee to knock on the doors of the Allahabad High Court to challenge the directions of the district court. The High Court will rule on the matter soon as the order to stay the survey comes to an end today at 5 PM.
The management committee stated before the Allahabad High Court that the mosque has been at its place beside the Kashi Vishwanath Temple for 1000 years. The other side has alleged that a temple was built at the site in the year 1585 and was later demolished in the year 1669. Meanwhile, several Hindu women have also asked the court to allow them to worship the deities present there.
Answering the court’s question of whether the committee thinks the mosque’s structure can fall apart, the petitioners held that ‘it might’ as it is 1000 years old.
The Hindu side held that it has trust in the survey as there is a successful precedent, namely the similar survey that took place in Ayodhya during the Ramjanmabhoomi case. To this, the committee said that the situation was different then and the two cases cannot be compared.
The petitioners maintained that the question of a temple existing on the site is fictional and that a survey should not take place because of an ‘imagination’. The Masjid committee also said that the women petitioners said before a lower court that there is a lack of evidence of the existence of Hindu deities inside the mosque and that the ASI should collect them. Challenging the district court’s order for the survey, the committee stated that this shouldn’t be allowed as ‘someone else’ shouldn’t be asked to gather proof for the same.
However, the Hindu side claimed that this isn’t true as they do have the proof, they feel that the ASI survey can act as an ‘expert opinion’ on the matter.
The court questioned the Hindu side if the excavation was important to them. To this, the counsel replied that it is but it won’t take place inside the mosque and that excavation will happen only as a last resort if the situation demands the same. When the Hindu side made its submissions on how exactly the excavation would happen, the court demanded them to either videograph the survey or submit that there will be no harm caused to the mosque whatsoever.
As the Masjid committee refused to believe the assurances that the other side was providing, the court asked them how will they manage to trust the court’s ruling if they can’t bring themselves to trust anyone.
Advocate Naqvi, who is fighting the case on the mosque committee’s side, said that while the Hindu side is assuring that there will be no excavation in the areas sealed by the Supreme Court, the ‘wazukhana area’ may still suffer damages if the survey is allowed to be conducted.
The court also questioned the ASI if they have ever done this type of work earlier, expressing its doubt over the work that they were asking to do. The ASI submitted to the court that they are planning to follow the GPR (Ground-Penetrating Radar) method for the survey which will be without any damage to the structure. The unconvinced bench, led by Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker, asked the ASI to show photographs of their previous projects.
While expressing their concerns, Justice Diwaker said, “The court is putting strong doubts on the work to be carried out by you,”
No Gyanvapi mosque survey till tomorrow
The stay on the ASI survey has been extended till tomorrow. The Allahabad High Court will continue hearing the case and has asked for further clarifications from the ASI.