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UP Sunni Waqf Board to challenge ASI survey order for Gyanvapi mosque

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UP Sunni Waqf Board to challenge ASI survey order for Gyanvapi mosque
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Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board has said that it will challenge the Varanasi court order, allowing archaeological survey to take place at the Gyanvapi mosque site, in the higher court.

Asserting that the status of Gyanvapi Masjid is beyond question, the 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 survey of Gyanvapi Mosque 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, Zufar Faruqi, Chairman, UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, said the order of the Civil Judge, Varanasi ordering a survey by the Archaeological Survey of India 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 be stopped and it will approach the High court immediately against this unwarranted order.

(From IANS with edits)

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TAGS:UP Sunni Waqf Board ASI Survey Varanasi Gyanvapi Mosque 
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