Hindus celebrate as Supreme Court approves ASI survey of Gyanvapi mosque
In a verdict that favors the Hindu community, the Supreme Court of India has greenlit a controversial archaeological survey of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. This decision, which dismisses a plea from the Muslim community, has thrown fuel on the already simmering historical debate about whether the mosque was built upon the ruins of a Hindu temple. The decision has shaken the nation and opened up fresh discussions around the intricate history of religious structures in India.
Supreme Court Approves Archaeological Survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque
On Friday, the Supreme Court upheld the Allahabad High Court’s ruling to permit the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a scientific survey of the 17th-century Gyanvapi mosque. The apex court’s decision supports the investigation into the potentially sensational claim that a Hindu temple once stood at the mosque’s location.
The decision from the bench was delivered in a 16-page verdict, declaring the scientific investigation as “necessary in the interest of justice.” It further added that the examination would “benefit the plaintiffs and defendants alike” and support the trial court’s just decision.
ASI Begins Survey at Gyanvapi Mosque Amid Tight Security and Tensions
A team of ASI officials, under tight security arrangements, quickly moved into the mosque’s premises to begin the unprecedented survey. The move comes after a contentious legal battle where the foundational premise argues that a Hindu temple was once destroyed and replaced by a mosque at the very site.
The Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee, representing the Muslim community, has taken a stand to abstain from the survey, a stance mirrored in July when the Supreme Court halted the survey. The committee’s joint secretary, SM Yasin, emphasized that the High Court has instructed the ASI to conduct the survey without causing any harm to the mosque, while appealing to officials to postpone the investigation.
A Complex History of Ruination and Reconstruction
The spotlight is now on a historical narrative that attributes the mosque’s creation to the era of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s rule. The alleged destruction and replacement of temples with mosques have been elaborated by historians like Satish Chandra and Meenakshi Jain. This has resurrected historical debates, focusing on the Gyanvapi Mosque’s close proximity to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, symbolizing a complex history of destruction and rebuilding.