Court orders unsealing of ASI’s Gyanvapi report
While the ASI report given to the district court was opened on 25 January, making its content public, the one submitted to the fast-track court is still waiting to be unsealed
The Fast Track Court (FTC) of Civil Judge (senior division) Prashant Kumar Singh in Varanasi has issued an order to unseal the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Gyanvapi survey report.
The court, on Tuesday, also directed the report to be handed over to the plaintiff in original (suit no. 610/1991) Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar vs Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM)-Gyanvapi Mosque Management Committee and others.
While the ASI report given to the district court was opened on January 25, making its content public, the one submitted to the FTC is still waiting to be unsealed.
Advocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi, representing Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar, said: “In response to a December 19, 2023, order of the Allahabad high court, the ASI was instructed to conduct a comprehensive survey of the entire Gyanvapi mosque, encompassing three plots, numbers 9130, 9131, and 9132. In compliance with this directive, the FTC in Varanasi, on January 4, directed the ASI to submit its survey report on the Gyanvapi mosque by January 19. Subsequently, the ASI submitted the report in sealed envelopes before the FTC on January 24, following an extension.”
Rastogi added: “On Tuesday, the court ordered the provision of certified copies of the report to me and the AIM. After reviewing the report, I intend to submit an application detailing the areas on the Gyanvapi premises where further ASI survey is deemed necessary.”
He further said: “ASI’s prior scientific investigation of the Gyanvapi compound utilised ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and other modern techniques. However, these radars failed to yield tangible results, especially regarding the Garbha Griha of the Hindu temple, situated beneath the floor beneath the central dome. In the lawsuit, the ASI will be required to undertake an underground exploration by creating a trench.”
Meanwhile, the court has scheduled the next hearing for 5 February, when it will address the pleas by the two sons of the late litigant Harihar Pandey, as well as the grandson of Somnath Vyas and head priest of Acharya Ved Vyas Peeth Temple, Shailendra Kumar Pathak Vyas.
Somnath Vyas and Harihar Pandey were two of the three original litigants who initiated this suit in 1991, seeking the removal of the mosque from the Gyanvapi land.
Rastogi, who is opposing the applications of Harihar Pandey’s sons and Vyas to join as parties in the original suit, said that the court has scheduled court has scheduled 5 February as the date for the hearing on these applications.