AIM refutes ASI survey report on Gyanvapi Masjid

The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid has termed the ASI report on the mosque as an attempt to “set a false narrative”

The ASI survey was to determine whether the 17th-century Gyanvapi Masjid (shown) was constructed over a pre-existing Hindu temple (photo: IANS)
The ASI survey was to determine whether the 17th-century Gyanvapi Masjid (shown) was constructed over a pre-existing Hindu temple (photo: IANS)


The Gyanvapi mosque management committee, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), has termed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report on its 'scientific study and survey' an attempt to "set a false narrative".

Based on the history available with the AIM, it claimed that this mosque was constructed in three phases, starting in the 15th century.

In its first detailed reaction to the ASI survey report, AIM joint secretary S.M. Yaseen said: “A detailed study of the ASI report is being done by legal experts and historians. But, after an initial study of the report, we have reached a conclusion that the facts and findings of the ASI report are not very different from the court commissioner survey conducted in May 2022. In the name of scientific study, a bid has been made to set a false narrative.”

“As per the history available with us, a rich man of Jaunpur, Sheikh Sulemani Mohaddis, had built the mosque on an open land in Gyanvapi in 804–42 Hijri (in the beginning of the 15th century). After this, Mughal emperor Akbar initiated expansion of the mosque as per the philosophy of Din-i-IIlahi and the ruins of the western wall are part of the same construction,” he continued.

He added that Aurangzeb ensured further expansion in the 17th century. This history is sufficient to make clear that the mosque existed before Aurangzeb, and it was built and expanded in three phases, he said.

Yaseen also asked: “How can it be claimed that it was a grand Hindu temple only? Varanasi had also been a major centre of Buddhists and after the arrival of the shankaracharyas, Buddhists were compelled to migrate from here. It should also be studied whether any Buddhist monastery or temple existed here to know the real history. If the city is excavated, many facts of Buddhists and Jains could also be found."

Regarding the parts of idols, coins and other objects found by ASI during the survey and deposited under the district magistrate’s custody, Yaseen said: “Before 1993, the area in the vicinity of Gyanvapi was open and it had been converted to a dumping yard. When ASI started the survey, about 10 feet high heap of debris was lying on the mosque’s rear side, while debris up to 3 feet height was noticed in the cellars. The objects were recovered from the same debris, which were dumped near the mosque for decades.”

Despite the Supreme Court’s order for a non-invasive scientific study, the ASI dug up many areas, claimed Yaseen.

He added that GPR can only help in indicating the possibility of any structure at a certain depth in a place, yet claims for a grand Hindu temple are being made.

Confident of getting relief from the Supreme Court under the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, despite the Allahabad High Court rejecting the claims of the mosque authorities that Gyanvapi was covered by this Act in 2023, Yaseen said that AIM will not only challenge the ASI report on the Gyanvapi survey but will also keep contesting cases to protect the mosque, wherever they need to be filed.

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