Petition filed for ASI survey of Gyanvapi complex’s other closed basements

Varanasi district court will hear the petition on Tuesday.

Varanas: Days after the district court ruled that a priest can perform prayers in a cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque here, a petitioner on Monday filled a plea seeking an ASI survey of all other closed basements in the complex.

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The Varanasi district court will hear the petition on Tuesday.

The petitioner Rakhi Singh is a founding member of the Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh and is one of the parties in the Maa Shringar Gauri case, which led to the survey of the complex by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
In the petition, she asked for all closed cellars in the Gyanvapi mosque complex, adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, to be surveyed by the ASI, her advocate Anupam Dwivedi said.

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He said a map of the closed basements has also been included in the petition.

The petition said there are “secret cellars” inside the basements, and it is necessary to survey them also so that the “entire truth” of the Gyanvapi mosque is revealed.

Following an earlier petition by five women devotees, the court had ordered the ASI to conduct a survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, barring the “wazukhana” used for ritual ablutions before namaz.

The southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque was opened last week and a priest performed prayers.

The court had allowed regular prayers in the cellar on the petition by Shailendra Kumar Pathak, who claimed that his maternal grandfather, priest Somnath Vyas, used to perform prayers there till December 1993.

According to Pathak’s counsel, the access to the cellar was closed for the priest during Mulayam Singh Yadav’s term as Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

The prayers at the cellar are being performed by a priest nominated by the Kashi Vishwanath temple trust. Devotees to the temple have also begun going past the opening in the barricade, created after the court order, to have a glimpse of the cellar.

Hindu litigants claim that a temple was destroyed during Aurangzeb’s rule to build Gyanvapi mosque. The recent ASI survey also suggested this.

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