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Gyanvapi survey: ASI seeks 8 more weeks to submit report in Varanasi court

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Saturday sought an additional time of eight weeks from the Varanasi District Court to file its report regarding the Gyanvapi survey. 

The Varanasi District Court had earlier granted the government agency four-weeks’ time to submit its survey report. The deadline ended today.

ASI submitted an application in the District Court contending that the survey was expected to take some more time as a lot of trash/debris consisting of garbage, loose soil and building material was dumped on floor level in cellars as well as around the structure, covering the original features of the structure. 

The application noted that since the court has directed the agency to conduct a survey beneath the ground of all cellars, it was necessary that the soil/debris dumped or accumulated there was removed without causing any damage to the standing structure. 

It said the debris was being removed very carefully and systematically, which was a slow process and going to take some more time before the ground of all the cellars was cleared for survey as directed by the court, it added.

The Varanasi court was likely to take up the application on September 8.

On July 21, the Varanasi District Judge had directed ASI to conduct a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi complex in Varanasi to determine whether the Mosque was constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple. 

The agency has already surveyed the premises for around 30 days now. 

Earlier on August 4, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee (which manages the Gyanvapi Mosque at Varanasi), seeking directions to stop the survey.

The Apex Court, while taking on record an undertaking made on behalf of ASI that no excavation would be done at the site and no damage would be caused to the structure, had permitted the survey to take place, except at the ‘wuzukhana’ area, where a purported ‘Shivling’ was found last year.

On July 21, the Varanasi District Judge directed the ASI Director to conduct a ‘scientific’ survey of the Gyanvapi complex except for the area that was sealed earlier (wuzukhana) to find out whether the same had been built over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple. 

This Allahabad High Court had upheld the verdict on August 3.

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