Officials given assent for scientific survey of mosque to determine if it was built over Hindu temple

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By Biswajeet Banerjee

An Indian court on Thursday ruled that officials can conduct a scientific survey to determine if a 17th-century mosque in the country’s north was built over a Hindu temple.

The Gyanvapi mosque in the holy Hindu city of Varanasi, an area prime minister Narendra Modi represents in India‘s parliament, is one of several mosques in northern Uttar Pradesh state that some Hindus believe was built on top of a demolished Hindu temple.

The dispute over land ownership had been one of India’s most heated issues between India’s 80 per cent majority Hindu community and Muslim minority, which makes up nearly 14 per cent of the country’s 1.4 billion people.

Vishnu Shankar Jain, an attorney representing the Hindu petitioners, said the high court in the state on Thursday allowed the state-run Archaeological Survey of India to survey the structure without causing any damage to it.

“Scientific survey is necessary in the interest of justice,” Live Law, an online portal for Indian legal news, cited chief justice Pritinker Diwaker as saying.

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