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Roads Blocked, Tight Security in Place: Survey of Varanasi’s Gyanvapi Masjid Resumes After SC Nod

The videography survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Varanasi resumed on Saturday amid tight security arrangements, officials said. The mosque management committee has indicated that it will cooperate for now with the team assigned the task by a local court.

“The authorised persons — all parties, their advocates, court commissioners and videographers — have reached the spot, and the survey has started,” District Magistrate of Varanasi Kaushal Raj Sharma told PTI. The mosque is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple and the local court is hearing a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols on its outer walls.

Meanwhile, all roads leading to Kashi Vishvanath Temple and Gyanvapi Mosque has been blocked and tight security arrangements have been put in place.

An important meeting was held with all parties concerned on Friday, Sharma had said earlier, and added that an appeal was made to them to cooperate in the commission’s work and the maintenance of law and order.

The administration has asked the mosque management committee to hand over the keys of underground cellars.

The mosque management had said there are locks preventing access to the two basements. The court made it clear that in case the keys are not available, the locks should be broken to get the survey done. The court has also directed the district magistrate and the police commissioner to monitor the exercise and lodge an FIR if anyone created hurdles in the survey, according to Yadav.

The videography survey resumed after the Court on Friday declined to immediately stop the survey of Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi and said that the matter would have to be considered in due course. The apex court agreed to consider listing the plea of a Muslim party against the survey of the Gyanvapi premises.

The district court has appointed two more lawyers to help the advocate commissioner carry out the survey at the mosque, which is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple. It ordered the police to register FIRs if there are attempts to scuttle the exercise. The local court’s May 12 order came on a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily worship of Hindu deities whose idols are located on an outer wall of the mosque.

The survey was stalled last week amid objections by the mosque committee, which claimed that the advocate commissioner did not have the mandate to film inside the premises. The committee accused him of bias and filed a plea for his replacement. Advocate Madan Mohan Yadav, who is appearing for the Hindu side, said the three court-appointed advocate commissioners, five lawyers each from the two sides and an assistant besides a videography team will carry out the survey.

People attended Friday prayers amid tight security outside the mosque. In its order Thursday, the district court said locks should be broken if the keys are not available to access certain areas of the complex for the survey.

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Source: News18