A Court-ordered videographic survey of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi resumed on Saturday, with officials saying that more than 50 per cent of the area that has to be inspected was covered.
The inspection began at 8 am and ended at noon, amid heavy police force deployment and elaborate arrangements near the complex. Shops near the complex remained shut. Police cordoned off the road near the complex. The commission, appointed by the court, including three Advocate Commissioners, lawyers from both sides, the petitioners were and other officials were present during the inspection.
Varanasi Police Commissioner Satish Ganesh said, “We were directed by the court to create an ideal situation for the commission to do its work. Both sides cooperated. Everything happened smoothly and I have been told that the action will continue tomorrow as well,” he said.
In a statement on Thursday, Varanasi District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said, “As per orders from a civil court in Varanasi, a court-appointed commission had to carry out some action inside the Gyanvapi mosque and nearby areas. As per the orders, the action happened between 8 am and noon. During this, all parties, including their lawyers, were there. On behalf of the government which is a respondent in the case, Varanasi District Magistrate and police commissioner and Kashi Vishwanath (temple) Trust [were there]. Their officials were also present during the survey. It completed very peacefully and all sides obeyed the orders. More than 50 per cent of the premises was surveyed.”
Advocate Sudhir Tripathi, representing the Hindu women, told mediapersons later in the day, “The survey will continue tomorrow. Around 50 per cent of it is done… With support from administration, the opposing side, the Commission’s action continued for four hours. No hindrance was created by anyone. The report of the survey will be submitted in court.”
On Thursday, a Varanasi court had ordered resumption of the video survey of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex, which was halted last week following allegations of bias against the official in charge — even if it meant getting “locks opened/ broken”. The survey report should be submitted on May 17, it had said.