Gyanvapi row: Court to pass order on handing over basement key to DM on December 11

The Varanasi district court on Friday could not take up a case seeking that the key to the basement of the Gyanvapi mosque complex be handed over to the district magistrate due to mourning over the death of a lawyer and fixed December 11 to pronounce the order.

The court completed the hearing on the appeal of advocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi for becoming a party in the case on Monday and reserved the order for Friday. But the matter could not be taken up on Friday due to mourning over the death of a lawyer, the counsel for the Hindu side to the dispute, Madan Mohan Yadav, said.

The matter is in the court of District Judge A K Vishvesh.

The authorities had barricaded and locked the basement of the mosque complex in 1993.

Shailendra Kumar Pathak, the grandson of priest Somnath Vyas, who used to perform puja in the basement before its closure in 1993, filed the petition in the court of civil judge Nitesh Kumar Sinha in September, expressing apprehensions about the Muslim side’s attempt to establish its influence over the courtyard and pleaded that the key be handed over to the DM.

Rastogi had given an application and appealed to the judge to make him a party to the case.

Yadav, who is Rastogi’s lawyer in the case, has pleaded that the key be handed over to the DM, fearing that the contents in the basement could be tampered with.

The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is conducting a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi premises, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, to determine whether the 17th-century mosque was constructed over a Hindu temple.

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