The court-ordered videographic survey of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi was completed on Monday. The survey of the premises concluded around noon after three days of inspection in the presence of court-appointed Advocate Commissioners, lawyers from both sides, all concerned parties and officials.
On Thursday, a Varanasi court had ordered resumption of the video survey of the 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 must be submitted on Tuesday, it had said.
Varanasi police commissioner Satish Ganesh told media persons that the action of the court-appointed Commission was completed on Monday. “The three-day action concluded on Monday. It was done in an ideal atmosphere where no law and order incident happened. We thank the people of Kashi for their cooperation,” he said. He appealed to the media to “not pay heed to any unofficial statement”.
Speaking to reporters after the completion of the action on Monday, Varanasi District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said, “The court Commissioner had given directions to all parties that till the report is submitted in court on May 17 (Tuesday), no one should disclose what was found inside… Only the court is the custodian of this information. If someone has told you something, it is their personal thought. It has nothing to do with the court Commission’s action.”
“There was information yesterday that someone had released some information. That person was kept out for 15-20 minutes. After that, the person was allowed back in. This was done based on what happened on Sunday. The person had given some information to people on Sunday which was outside the confidentiality clause of the court. Today, no one was debarred,” Sharma added.
On Thursday, the court had appointed two additional Advocate Commissioners – Advocate Vishal Singh and Ajay Pratap Singh – after Advocate Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra was accused of being “biased” by those from the mosque side.
Civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar had Thursday said top district officials “have the responsibility” to complete the survey by the court-appointed Commission, and directed the DGP and chief secretary to supervise “related action”.
On April 8, while hearing the petitioners, the Varanasi court had appointed Mishra to carry out a survey of the Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal at the disputed site — and directed him to “prepare videography of the action” and submit a report.
The court’s direction came on a petition filed by five women in August 2021 seeking an order to allow them to worship at the site. The petition was filed by Rakhi Singh, a resident of Delhi, and four others, through their counsel Hari Shankar Jain.