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Varanasi civil court removes Chief Advocate Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra from the Gyanvapi mosque survey panel

Published : May 18, 2022 06:59 IST T+T-
The Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.

The Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.

Purnima S. Tripathi

The Gyanvapi mosque survey and videography of its inner precincts have come under a cloud of suspicion with the Varanasi civil court removing the Chief Advocate Commissioner, Ajay Kumar Mishra, from the panel on May 17. He was removed after Vishal Singh, the other Court Commissioner petitioned the local court against Ajay Kumar Mishra, saying he was a party to the leaking of the contents of the survey.

The Varanasi court appointed Vishal Singh as the Chief Advocate Commissioner along with Court Commissioner Ajay Pratap Singh. He has been granted two days extension to submit the report. The report will now be submitted on May 19.

Meanwhile , the Gyanvapi controversy has become further complicated with the Supreme Court directing the Varanasi civil administration to secure the area inside the mosque where the Hindu representatives claim a shivling had been recovered. The shivling was reportedly found inside a pond filled with water where Muslims do their ablutions before offering namaz. The Varanasi civil court had ordered the pond to be sealed on May 16.

Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, the mosque management committee, had petitioned the Supreme Court requesting a stay on the survey since it violated the Places of Worship Act, 1991. The committee said the survey sought to change the character of the mosque. The apex court, however, refused to stay the Varanasi civil court proceedings and also refused to stay the survey. The Supreme Court bench, headed by justice D.Y. Chandrachud, also directed the Varanasi administration to secure the area where the alleged shivaling has been found, but without impeding Muslims from offering namaz. The apex court will hear the matter again on May 19.