A court-mandated videography survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex here was carried out peacefully for the second consecutive day on Sunday, with 65 per cent of the exercise completed.
The survey, which was stalled last week amid objections by the mosque committee, which claimed that the advocate commissioner appointed by the court for the survey did not have the mandate to film inside the premises, will continue on Monday.
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.
Amid tight security, the survey was carried out from 8 am to 12 noon.
“About 65 per cent of the survey work has been completed today. The survey will continue on Monday as well. This is completely an archaeological survey work, and since the advocates were not familiar with the survey work, the work took some time (today),” Madan Mohan Yadav, the advocate of the Hindu side in the case said.
Assistant advocate commissioner Vishal Singh said the survey work was held peacefully and concluded for the day.
“There were no obstructions in the survey work. The survey report is confidential, and it cannot be made public,” he said.
Varanasi police commissioner A Satish Ganesh told PTI that “Deployment (of security forces) has been made on the same scale as it was made on Saturday. Also attention has been paid to ensure that devotees visiting nearby areas do not face any problems (due to the survey). Our responsibility is that an ideal atmosphere is established, so that the court procedure can proceed without any hindrance.” Ahead of the commencement of the survey, Singh had told reporters that, “Efforts will be made so that the entire survey is completed today, and on May 17, the report can be presented before the court”.
District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma had said on Saturday that almost 50 per cent of the survey work has been done. “Survey of more than 50 per cent of the place has been done. The survey work is confidential, and is done under the monitoring of the court. So, information regarding the places where the survey was done and what was found cannot be shared now,” he had said.
In his order on Thursday last, District Civil Court (Senior Division) judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar had turned down a plea by the mosque committee to replace Ajay Kumar Mishra, who was appointed advocate commissioner by the court to survey the Gyanvapi-Gauri Shringar complex.
The judge also appointed two more advocates to help the commissioner with the survey and said it should be completed by Tuesday.
The district court had said that locks should be broken if the keys are not available to access certain areas of the complex for the survey. It also asked district authorities to register FIRs if the survey was not allowed.
The Supreme Court had on Friday last refused to grant an interim order of status quo on the survey. The top court, however, agreed to consider listing the plea of a Muslim party against the survey.
Advocate Yadav had 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.PTI NAV/COR DV DV