Varanasi Mosque Filming Starts Tomorrow, Case In Supreme Court: 10 Points

The Supreme Court today refused to order a status quo but agreed to hear urgently a petition against the ongoing videography at the mosque

Gyanvapi Mosque is located next to Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi

Lucknow, New Delhi: Videography at Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque will resume tomorrow, the district administration announced today. The matter, which started with a group of women seeking year-long access to a Hindu shrine behind the mosque, has reached the Supreme Court.

Here are top 10 developments in this big story:

  1. District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said he had met all stakeholders and appealed for peace. "As for the appeal before the Supreme Court, it is up to the court-appointed commissioners. We are starting the process tomorrow," he said.

  2. The Supreme Court today refused to order a status quo in the matter but agreed to hear urgently a petition that challenges the ongoing videography at the mosque, located next to Kashi Vishwanath temple.

  3. The petition by lawyer Huzefa Ahmadi has contended that the order to conduct a survey and filming of the mosque premises is at odds with the Places of Worship Act, 1991.

  4. Chief Justice of India NV Ramana turned down the petitioner's plea for status quo, stating that such an order can't be passed without examining documents.

  5. Five Hindu women have sought year-long access to pray at the shrine behind the mosque. The site is currently open for prayers once a year. The women also want permission to pray to other "visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex".

  6. Hearing the petition by the women, a local court in April ordered inspection of the mosque complex and directed authorities to submit a report by May 10.

  7. The survey was halted after a dispute broke out. The mosque committee said the court had not ordered videography inside the mosque. The petitioners' lawyer, however, insisted that the court had given a go-ahead.

  8. Hearing the matter, the local court yesterday said videography can happen at all places asked for by the petitioners. It also directed authorities to complete the survey by May 17.

  9. The court decided not to replace the commissioner overseeing the survey. The petitioners' lawyer said the court has appointed two more survey commissioners; in total there are three now.

  10. The mosque committee has also challenged an April 21 verdict of Allahabad High court which had dismissed a plea challenging the survey of the premises.