Archeological Survey of India will survey the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi to ascertain whether there ever existed a Hindu temple before the mosque was constructed on a court order.
What was that court order?
A district court in Varanasi ordered ASI to constitute a five-member committee of experts including two from the minority community to check the facts about Gyanvapi Mosque. The court wants to know whether the mosque is a superimposition, alteration, or addition to a Hindu temple. Or there is a structural overlapping of any kind, with or over, any religious structure. The ASI Chief is also asked to appoint a scholar as an observer to observe the working of the committee.
Why the court passed this order?
The court passed the order on a three-decade old petition filed in 1991 by a group of Varanasi residents that claim that the Gyanvapi Mosque was created over an ancient Hindu temple by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1664.
What did UP Sunni Central Waqf Board say about the order?
Sunni Central Waqf Board chairman Zufar Ahmad Farooqui said that the petition was barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. He asserted that the status of Gyanvapi Mosque was beyond question in the light of the said law. He further added that a survey could only provide foundational facts and that no proof about the existence of a Hindu temple was produced in the court. The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board said they would challenge the order in Allahabad High Court.