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Two swastikas seen near Gyanvapi Masjid

Varanasi, May 9: The timeworn traces of two swastikas were seen near the Gyanvapi Masjid in the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex in Varanasi during the survey and videography exercise being carried out.

While the exercise was halted by the administration amid protests on Saturday, videographers on the court commissioner’s team later told the media that they came across the two faded but legible swastikas outside the mosque as they were conducting the survey. The swastikas were possibly drawn in ancient times, they said.

The videography and survey of some areas outside Gyanvapi Masjid was stopped on Saturday after the team of lawyers were denied entry inside the mosque due to protests by Muslim men. Earlier in the day, a Varanasi court had ordered the continuation of videography and survey of areas outside Gyanvapi Masjid. Heavy police force was stationed in the area after a court-appointed official and a team of lawyers carried out an inspection near the area on Friday. The survey is being done on the Varanasi district court’s order following a plea by Delhi-based women Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu and others seeking permission to worship Hindu deities whose idols are located on the outer wall of the Gyanvapi Masjid. Speaking to the media, the petitioners’ lawyer Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi said there will be no survey of the mosque till the district court hears and passes order on a plea by the mosque management committee seeking the appointment of a different court commissioner to oversee the exercise.

Chaturvedi said that on Saturday, around hundred men from the Muslim community surrounded the mosque when the team of lawyers and videographers approached, due to which they were unable to conduct the survey. One of the petitioners, Rekha Pathak, told the media that the team was denied entry into the mosque area by the mosque administration and a group of Muslim men, as a result the survey and videography could not be carried out on Saturday. The court will now hear the matter on May 9 and they would ask for specific order to carry out the videography and survey of the Gyanvapi mosque, Pathak said.

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