The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board has said that it will challenge the Varanasi court order, allowing the archaeological survey to take place at the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi mosque site, in a higher court.
Asserting that the status of the Gyanvapi Masjid is beyond question, Board chairman Zufar Faruqi said the order violates the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court on many occasions.
A civil court in Varanasi, on Thursday, had given its approval for a survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque and the Kashi Vishwanath temple complex by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The court further directed the Uttar Pradesh government to bear the cost of the survey. The ASI is likely to set up a five-member team that will visit the campus soon.
In a statement, Faruqi said the order of the Civil Judge, Varanasi, ordering a survey by the ASI will be challenged before the Allahabad High Court.
“Our understanding is clear that this case is barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The Places of Worship Act was upheld by a 5-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya judgment. The status of Gyanvapi Masjid is, as such, beyond question,” Faruqi said.
He also underlined that the order of survey is questionable because technical evidence can only supplement certain foundational facts.
In this connection, no evidence has been produced before the court that suggests that there was a prior existing temple at the site of the mosque.
Referring to the Babri Masjid title judgment, the Board chairman pointed out that even in the Ayodhya judgment, the ASI excavation was ultimately of no use as it did not find proof that the Babri Masjid was built upon after a demolished temple. He also underscored that the Supreme Court has specifically observed that there was no such evidence.
The UP Waqf Board said that it wants that this practice of mosques being ‘investigated’ by the ASI to be stopped and it will approach the High Court immediately against this unwarranted order.