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Gyanvapi case: Legal validity has to be decided by the court. I have only executed my duty, says Ajay Kumar Mishra

Sitting on a wooden bench under a tin shed in the compound of the Varanasi collectorate, advocate Ajay Kumar Mishra, has been removed the position of advocate commissioner in the court mandated survey of Gyanvapi mosque complex earlier this week but on Thursday he was drawing attention of fellow lawyers due to crowd of media persons surrounding him with their questions and two armed policemen guarding him.

Sweating out in the humid weather, Mishra was explaining the content of two-page report of the survey he had conducted in the outer area of Gyanvapi mosque on May 6 and 7. He submitted the report in a Varanasi court a day after he was removed as advocate commissioner on the charges of being “highly irresponsible” during the commission’s work. He had been after the special advocate commissioner Vishal Singh filed an application in the court alleging ‘non-cooperation from Mishra’ and assistant advocate commissioner Ajay Pratap Singh.

Mishra (40) belongs to Varanasi and he had started practice as lawyer 18 from years. When asked about the legal validity of his report after his removal from the post, Mishra said, “Legal validity has to be decided by the court. I have only executed my duty. If the rights given to me have been withdrawn, it is my responsibility to hand over whatever I have, to the court. Now it is upto the court to consider it as part (of the survey). I submitted the report as my responsibility.” Mishra clarified that the court had not asked him to submit his report after removing him.

About the videography done during the survey done by him, Mishra said that videography records and other evidences have been deposited at a safe place and whenever the court needs it can get all that.

On the allegations of non-cooperating in the survey work and moving with a private camera man who was giving statement in media, Mishra said, “All that is false. Any such discussion means that one only creates doubt on the report. But the fact is that survey was completed very well in a cordial manner. There was nothing to raise objection. All that has been done with me for fulfilling personal interests and get highlight. Personally I am very upset and I am in a state of shock because of that act of Vishal Singh.” Mishra rejected all the allegations against him.

Mishra said that till Tuesday morning he was not aware that any such action was going to happen against me. “I was involved in preparing the report with Singh till late Monday late night,” Mishra said. He added that his own report was of only 10 per cent of the survey work.

On the allegations of being biased leveled earlier by Muslim respondents in the case, Mishra said, “But the court had not found me biased.”

As the matter of Gyanvapi is a high-profile case associate with two religions, Mishra said that he found himself fortunate (saubhagya) on getting associated with that case. “I worked honestly till the time I got. I also accepted the order when I was removed and did not raise any objection,” Mishra said and added that he was upset because he was betrayed by own people. “Apno ne hi dhokha diya,” he said.

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