Thursday, 18 August, 2022
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Varanasi court removes head of survey commission over ‘media leaks’ in Gyanvapi Mosque case

The court also gave two days' time to the commission to submit the videography survey report of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex. Two other commissioners will continue in their position.

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Lucknow: A Varanasi court Tuesday removed court commissioner Ajay Mishra, who was heading the videography survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex, while it gave the remaining two commissioners two more days to submit the report on the survey.

The court remarked that Mishra had been leaking evidence to the media and the private cameraman assisting him was regularly giving out secretive facts.

Two other commissioners Vishal Singh and Abhay Pratap will remain as special and assistant advocate commissioners, the court said.

The court-appointed commission, which had concluded its three-day survey Monday, had sought two days’ time for the submission of the report, with officials saying the findings were “confidential”.

“The survey lasted for three days from May 14-16. Only 50 per cent of the report is ready, not complete yet. This is why we will not be able to produce it before the court today. We will seek 3-4 days’ time from court,” Assistant Advocate Commissioner, Ajay Pratap Singh had said.

The Gyanvapi Masjid is located next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and the local court was hearing a plea by a group of five women seeking permission for daily prayers at Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal on the outer wall of the mosque complex.

The court Monday directed the district administration to seal the spot in the mosque complex where a Shivling was claimed to have been found during the court-mandated videography survey.

Advocate Hari Shankar Jain, representing the women petitioners, filed an application Monday, saying a “Shivling is found in the masjid complex at the place where wuzu khana is there”.

After the conclusion of the survey, the Varanasi court ordered the District Magistrate of Varanasi, Kaushal Raj Sharma, “to seal the area where the Shivling was found and to bar people from going to the place.”

In its order, the court said that the DM, police commissioner and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commandant, Varanasi will be responsible for the security of the sealed area.

The civil court had appointed a court commissioner to conduct the survey and videography of the site and the same was challenged before Allahabad High Court, which dismissed the appeal on 21 April. The 21 April order of the High Court was challenged in the apex court.

The survey was carried out by three court-appointed advocate commissioners, five lawyers each from the two sides and an assistant besides a videography team.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court was also hearing a plea Tuesday seeking a stay on the survey of the mosque complex.


Also read: Should Indian Muslims cling on to a non-mosque? Gyanvapi is a living monument of past wrongs


 

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