April 09, 2021 1:23 AM
New Delhi: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been directed by a court to study whether the Gyanwapi Masjid near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Uttar Pradesh has been converted into any other religious building.
The action was taken in the case filed by advocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi and three others. The court rejected the mosque’s governing body’s contention that the mosque was located on the disputed land, according to revenue records, and therefore did not require inspection.
The lawsuit filed in 1991 alleges that the mosque was built after the demolition of the Shiva temple by order of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb on April 18, 1669. It also demands the return of the place where one of the 12 Jyotirlingas was located.
In 1997, a civil court ruled that the ban under the 1991 Shrines Act did not apply to the dispute in Kashi. The revision court, which ruled against the appeal, directed that the case be settled only after gathering evidence from the parties.
The ASI Director General should appoint a committee of 5 archaeologists to conduct the survey. Of these, 2 may be from a minority community. The court also said that an expert from any central university should be appointed to monitor the committee. The case is set to return to court next month.
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