The much-awaited report of the filming of the Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi was submitted to the court this morning in a sealed cover. A top official leading the survey said the team stayed up for three nights to prepare the report which includes videos and pictures from inside the mosque. The court will now call all involved parties to decide the matter based on the report.
The Varanasi court is hearing a petition by five Hindu women who claim there are idols of Hindu Gods and goddesses in the Gyanvapi mosque complex.
"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," Advocate Commissioner Ajay Pratap Singh said. "We haven't slept in the last three days," he added.
Newly appointed court commissioner Vishal Singh submitted his report in a sealed cover to the court at 10:15 am today. A chip with the video footage of the survey has also been submitted.
The court had yesterday removed survey commissioner Ajay Mishra after lawyers representing the Hindu petitioners and the mosque respondents had a heated argument in court over the findings of the filming being leaked to the media even before the report was submitted to the court. Mr Mishra also submitted his report to the court on Wednesday evening.
Vishal Singh, appointed the new survey head, had complained that Ajay Mishra had hired a private cameraman.
Vishal Singh said he had complained against Ajay Mishra to the court because the cameraman hired by him had leaked information on the filming. "I had given the petition regarding the conduct of Ajay Mishra. Ajay Mishra had appointed a videographer who was giving statements in the media and spreading rumours. I am saying with full responsibility that my report will be fair," he had said.
Admitting that the videographer he had hired had leaked details, Mr Mishra said: "What can I do about it? I hired the cameraman, he cheated."
One of the lawyers involved in the filming has claimed that a "Shivling" was found inside a pond traditionally used for "Wazoo" or Islamic purification rituals before namaaz.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ordered that the area where the "Shivling" is supposed to have been found be protected without stopping Muslims from praying in the mosque.