The court directed the Director General of ASI to form an expert panel of five members comprising two members preferably from the minority community. Following the court order, the ASI is expected to soon form a committee to conduct the survey.
The Gyanvapi masjid shares a boundary wall with the Kashi Vishwanath mandir. The petition filed by lawyer Vijay Shankar Rastogi claims that the mosque was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb after demolishing a portion of the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
Here’s how the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex dispute unfolded.
The first petition in the case was filed in 1991 in Varanasi civil court by Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar. The petitioner demanded to declare the entire Gyanvapi complex as a part of the Kashi temple.
The petitioner, further, sought Muslims to be evicted from the complex area and demolition of the mosque. The petition mentioned a Hindu temple to be built on the premises.
In 1998, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee moved the Allahabad High Court stating that the mandir-masjid land dispute cannot be adjudicated by a civil court as it was barred by the law. The high court stayed the proceedings in the lower court where the matter remained pending for 22 years.
In December 2019, petitioner Vijay Shankar Rastogi filed a plea on behalf of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar in Varanasi district court, seeking an archeological survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex.
In January 2020, the Masjid panel opposed the plea demanding ASI survey of the entire Gyanvapi complex.
Rastogi approached the lower court with a petition in February 2020 requesting the hearing be resumed.
Since the Ayodhya Babri masjid case verdict in 2019, the Hindu community now believes that Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute too will be solved.