India

Gyanvapi mosque case: ASI report confirms temple stood at site, claims Hindu side counsel

Gyanvapi Jamia masjid located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. [Photo: Wikimedia]

In the Gyanvapi Mosque case, an advocate representing the Hindu petitioners has asserted that the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) report validates the existence of a Hindu temple at the site, which was later transformed into a mosque during the rule of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

The Hindu petitioners contend that the mosque was constructed by demolishing sections of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, now sharing a compound with the reconstructed temple, The Telegraph reported.

They seek the Varanasi district court to allocate the entire site to Hindus, a plea contested by Muslims.

According to lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain, who read from a set of papers reportedly distributed by the district court, the ASI report indicates that the western wall, pillars, and stone scriptures were originally part of a Hindu temple, with some elements partially destroyed and reused in the existing mosque structure. Jain emphasised that the ASI identified inscriptions of Hindu deities such as Janardana and Rudra on the pillars and walls.

As reported by The Telegraph, members of the Anjuman Intezamia Committee, the mosque’s managing body, acknowledged receiving copies of the report but declined to comment, stating that the ASI report is subject to interpretation.

A committee member expressed reluctance to engage in the interpretation presented by the Hindu petitioners, citing the need to observe how the case progresses and acknowledging challenges faced by their side.

The district court had instructed the ASI to conduct a scientific survey of the mosque (excluding the Wazukhana) last year. The ASI submitted its report in December, initially requesting confidentiality, which the court rejected on Wednesday.

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