A Varanasi court has asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque, located near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in the pilgrim town, to find if the place houses any remnants of an ancient Hindu temple.
The court gave the order while acting on a three-decade-old petition which said that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb superimposed the mosque on the ruins of an ancient temple of Lord Vishweshwar that he demolished in 1664.
The court also ordered the director general of ASI to form a five-member committee to carry out the survey, while stressing that the members must be experts in archaeology and that two of them must be from the minority community. An eminent scholar would be appointed as the committee’s observer.
The court entrusted the experts’ panel with finding if any temple of the Hindu committee existed on the site before the mosque was built or superimposed.
“The prime purpose of the Archaeological Survey shall be to find out whether the religious structure standing at present at the disputed site is a superimposition, alteration or addition or there is a structural overlapping of any kind, with or over, any other religious structure,” the court said.