The Varanasi district court on Tuesday fixed February 15 to hear an application seeking a survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the remaining cellars inside the Gyanvapi mosque.

This comes a week after the court allowed puja in one of the cellars of the mosque.

The petitioner, Rakhi Singh, is also one of the main petitioners in the Shringar Gauri case, which led to the survey of the mosque complex by the ASI last year. Ms. Singh maintained that the religious character of the structure will be fully confirmed with the survey of all the cellars. The Hindu petitioners claim the mosque is a part of the adjacent Kashi Vishwanath temple.

Saurabh Tiwari, counsel of the petitioner, said the acting District Judge, Anil Kumar, has admitted the case.

“In the application, my client has maintained that within the Gyanvapi premises, cellar no. N1 to N5 (in the north) and S1 to S3 (in the south) exist and cellars nos. N1 and S1 are completely not accessed because their entrances are blocked. Hence, survey of the unaccessed area of the mosque should be done by removing the blocked entrance and debris, through a safe methodology,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court, which was hearing a fresh application filed by the Anjum Intezamia Masjid Committee (that runs and manages the Gyanvapi mosque), challenging the district court’s order of January 31 allowing puja in one cellar – ‘Vyas Ka Tehkhana’ – asked the petitioners and respondents to avoid giving statements to the media.

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