A Varanasi court judge who asked the authorities to continue video inspection of the Gyanvapi mosque, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, said in a judgement on Thursday that his family was worried about his safety, ANI reported.
Ravi Kumar Diwakar, a civil judge in the senior division of a court in Varanasi, said that “an ordinary civil matter” had been hyped.
“An atmosphere of fear has been created by making this civil case into an extraordinary case,” Diwakar wrote in the order. “The fear is so much that my family is always concerned about my safety and I am concerned about their safety.”
Diwakar said his wife expresses concern about his security whenever he steps out of their home. “Yesterday, my mother [in Lucknow] also expressed concerns about my safety,” the judge added. “From the news received by the media, she came to know that maybe I am also going to the spot [Gyanvapi mosque] as commissioner. She told me that I should not go as it may endanger my safety.”
In his judgement, Diwakar said the survey report of the mosque should be submitted on May 17.
The development came after five women petitioners claimed that an image of deity Shringar Gauri exists at the back of the western wall of the mosque. They have demanded that they be allowed to offer daily prayers and observe other Hindu rituals at the site.
On May 6, a survey was conducted at the site but it could not be continued the next day as the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which is the caretaker of the mosque, stopped the exercise. They opposed videography inside the mosque.
The committee also accused the court-appointed advocate commissioner Ajai Kumar of acting in a biased manner and demanded that he should be replaced.
Diwakar, however, in his order on Thursday declined the request and appointed two more advocate commissioners to assist Kumar in the videography.
He added that the inspection had to be completed even if it comes to breaking locks, The Indian Express reported.
“If anyone creates any hindrance to this, like if there are some locks, then the district administration will have the full right to get the locks opened or broken for the commission’s action,” Diwakar said in the order.
He also directed the authorities to file a first information report against those blocking the survey.
“The Varanasi District Magistrate and the police commissioner have the personal responsibility to complete the commission’s action,” said the order, reported The Indian Express. “The commission’s action will be undertaken from 8 am to 12 pm every day till the [survey] work concludes.”
Abhay Nath Yadav, a lawyer representing the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, described the court’s order delivered on Thursday as illegal, NDTV reported. Yadav said he will challenge it soon.
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