The report of filming of the Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi was submitted to a court this morning in a case involving a request by Hindu petitioners to worship what they claim are idols inside the mosque complex.
The report, in three folders, was submitted in a sealed cover by the team that filmed the mosque complex. A chip with videos and photographs of the filming was also handed over, Vishal Singh, the court-appointed commissioner, told NDTV.
The Varanasi court was told, however, not to pass any orders for now by the Supreme Court, which is hearing a petition by the mosque committee challenging the Gyanvapi complex filming. The Supreme Court said it would take up the case tomorrow after the lawyers for the Hindu petitioners asked for an adjournment.
The Varanasi court is hearing a petition by five Hindu women who have requested access to the Gyanvapi mosque complex - located next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple - to worship idols on its outer walls.
One of the lawyers involved in the filming at the mosque has claimed that a "Shivling" was found inside a pond traditionally used for "Wazoo" or Islamic purification rituals before namaaz.
The Supreme Court has said if there are claims of a "Shivling" found in the complex, the area should be protected but Muslims must not be stopped from praying at the mosque.
A top official leading the filming, Advocate Commissioner Ajay Pratap Singh, said he stayed up all night to prepare the report, including videos and pictures from inside the mosque, even the basement.
"The court had given us a big responsibility and we conducted the survey honestly in the sweltering heat, even in dirty basements. We took all parties along, the petitioners and mosque representatives, so that there's no question of impropriety," he said.
The court will hear a petition by three of the original petitioners asking for the removal of debris gathered against the mosque wall facing a Nandi idol at the Kashi Viswanath temple, to access and film more areas to establish what they believe are parts of a temple.
The Gyanvapi mosque committee today filed an affidavit before the Varanasi court over a plea by Hindu petitioners asking for demolition inside the mosque. Objecting to the controversial "shivling" claims, it said no one had the right to call it a "shivling".
The affidavit said no plea should have been filed by petitioners before a court decision based on the filming report.
"Any demolition of the mosque wall will lead to the collapse of the mosque...Any demolition will hurt the sentiments of Muslims and spoil the atmosphere," says the mosque committee.
On Tuesday, the Varanasi court sacked Ajay Mishra, who was leading the filming, over leaks from the report, allegedly by a "personal cameraperson" he had hired. Vishal Singh, a member of the team, was appointed in his place.