The Supreme Court on July 24 gave the Central Government time till 11.15 a. m. to find out what exactly the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is doing following a Varanasi court order on Friday to conduct a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The top court ashed the solicitor general to convey to ASI not to undertake any invasive work at mosque site and agreed to take up plea at 2 p. m.
The mosque management has made an urgent mentioning, alleging that “digging has already started on the western wall”. They have sought a stay of the court order, giving them time to file an appeal against the Varanasi court order.
The Hindu plaintiffs and the govt maintain the wazukhana area, ordered to be kept sealed by the SC, has not been touched. The survey is non-invasive. There is no excavation.
Earlier today, a 30-member team of the ASI entered the Gyanvapi complex to carry out a scientific survey in accordance with court orders to determine if the mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple was built upon a temple.
Besides the ASI team, which entered the complex around 7 a. m., the lawyers of all the Hindu petitioners to the legal dispute were also present at the spot, Madan Mohan Yadav, one of the counsel, said.
Late on Sunday evening, District Magistrate (DM) S Rajalingam had said the ASI team had reached Varanasi and the survey proceedings inside the Gyanvapi mosque campus would begin Monday morning.
Varanasi Police Commissioner Ashok Mutha Jain and the DM held a meeting with both the Hindu and Muslim sides to the dispute on Sunday night to share information about the survey with them.
However, citing the Supreme Court hearing scheduled for Monday on the order for the survey, the lawyers of the Muslim side demanded that the date for the exercise be postponed, Yadav said.
He added that the Muslim side has boycotted he survey.
District Judge A K Vishvesh directed the ASI on Friday to conduct a detailed scientific survey — including excavations, wherever necessary — to determine if the mosque in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh was built at a place where a temple existed earlier.
(With inputs from PTI)