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Gyanvapi: Varanasi court to pronounce verdict on September 13 on pleas seeking preservation of artefacts

The District Court of Varanasi is expected to deliver its judgment on September 13 on three petitions seeking preservation of the artefacts and other materials found by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) during its ongoing survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex.

District and Sessions Judge Ajaya Krishna Vishvesha, while hearing the pettions on Saturday, said that he would pass the orders on all three applications on September 13.

While two applications have been filed by Rakhi Singh through Advocates Saurabh Tiwari and Anupam Dwivedi in the Shringar Gauri Worshipping Suit 2022, which was presently pending before the court, the third plea has been filed by the remaining four women plaintiffs in the 2022 Suit through Advocates Hari Shankar Jain, Vishnu Shankar Jain, Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi and Sudhir Tripathi.

The first application sought ‘preserving’ of the entire Gyanvapi Mosque Complex on the grounds that the Mosque committee was destroying the historical evidence related to Hindu religion available at the disputed site.

Singh, who was herself a plaintiff in the suit which sought year-round access to worship inside the Mosque premises, contended that if the available evidence related to Hindu religion was destroyed, then it would pose difficulty in the disposal of the 2022 Suit, besides leading to a problem in reaching an appropriate judicial conclusion in the matter.

The second application sought sealing and protection of certain areas of Gyanvapi Mosque premises where the Hindu signs and symbols existed in order to ensure that the Anjuman Masjid Committee members and Namaz offerers were not able to damage the same.

The petitioner further sought direction to the concerned respondent authorities for regulation and restriction on the number of Namaz offerers at the disputed site and a direction to the Anjuman Committee to refrain from any dying and painting any structures inside Gyanvapi the Mosque premises.

The third application filed by four Hindu women worshippers sought to preserve the artefacts and other material found by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) during its ongoing survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex.

Stating that whatever articles were found by the ASI would be case property and maybe a piece of evidence in the suit, the plaintiffs sought direction to the District Magistrate to preserve all such articles and produce the same in court whenever required.

The third petition further sought direction to the District Magistrate to prepare an inventory of all such articles and file the same before the court.

The plaintiffs, while referring to the May 2022 report submitted by the Advocate Commissioner in the case, contended that there existed a number of artefacts, idols and other articles of Hindu worship within the premises and during its survey, ASI would get a number of such ancient articles to which the sentiments of Hindus or the worshippers of Lord Shiva were deeply attached.

The court further granted the ASI an additional time of eight weeks to file its report pertaining to the Gyanvapi survey. The court had sought the survey report by September 2.

Varanasi District Judge A.K. Vishvesha passed the order on an application moved by ASI seeking more time to submit the report. 

The counsel representing the government agency said that a lot of garbage and debris in the form of stone slabs, loose soil and building material was dumped on the floor level in cellars as well as around the structure, covering the original features of the structure.

The debris made it indispensable to clear the waste for a proper scientific investigation of the complex. The same was being removed very carefully and properly in order to ensure no damage was caused to the structure, added the agency.

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