Following the approval from the Allahabad High Court, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has begun its survey of the Gnanavapi complex in Varanasi. The survey commenced at 8 am on Thursday, marking a significant step towards unraveling the historical significance of the site. Notably, the ASI team this time comprises 61 members, 40 members more than the previous survey, highlighting a heightened commitment to conducting an extensive and comprehensive examination.
The ongoing survey at the Gnanawapi campus has been meticulously planned, with the site being divided into four distinct blocks for a comprehensive examination. A significant aspect of this survey is the strategic installation of cameras all around the campus to capture essential data. Videography is playing a crucial role in documenting the survey process, with special emphasis on the west wall of Gnanawapi, where a careful and detailed scanning of artifacts is underway.
Hindu Party Joins ASI in Gnanawapi Survey, Muslim Party Refuses Participation
As the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) continues its survey at the Gnanawapi site in Varanasi, the involvement of different religious parties has led to contrasting responses. The Hindu party has actively participated in the survey alongside the ASI, while the Muslim party has opted to abstain, declining to join the survey at Gnanawapi. This has prompted a high alert in the state due to the significance of the day of Juma, with a substantial deployment of security forces around the Gnanawapi site.
Hindu Party’s Participation
The Hindu party has chosen to collaborate with the ASI during the ongoing survey at Gnanawapi. Their participation reflects their interest in understanding the historical significance of the site and contributing to the exploration of its cultural heritage. This collaborative approach fosters a spirit of inclusivity and facilitates a deeper understanding of the site’s importance to various communities.
Muslim Party’s Refusal to Participate
On the other hand, the Muslim party has decided not to participate in the survey at Gnanawapi. Their refusal to join the process has raised concerns about the need for all stakeholders to be engaged in such endeavors. The absence of their perspective may impact the survey’s ability to fully appreciate the site’s historical context and cultural significance.
On Thursday, the Allahabad High Court granted permission to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a scientific survey of the Gnanawapi site. Justice Pritinkar Diwakar, presiding over the case, emphasized the necessity of the survey in the interest of justice. He further stated that he found no merit in the argument that the ASI could not arrive at conclusions without resorting to excavating the wall.
The Allahabad High Court has dismissed the plea made by the Anjuman Intejamia Masjid Committee to halt the ongoing survey at the Gnanawapi site. The court’s decision to reject the plea allows the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to continue its scientific examination of the site, as previously authorized.
Additional District Magistrate (City) Alok Kumar Verma has granted permission for 7 representatives from the Hindu party and 9 representatives from the Muslim party to accompany the survey team. Among those allowed to enter the premises on the Hindu side are Rekha Pathak, Sita Sahu, Lakshmi Devi, Sohan Lal Arya, Anupam Dwivedi, Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi, and Vikram Vyas.
It has been reported that despite being called by the Muslim party, representatives including Maulana Abdul Banki, Abdul Batin Nomani, MM Yasin, Mumtaz Ahmed, Akhlaq Ahmed, Mohammad Ejaz Ahmed, Shamsher Ali, Fuzail Ahmed, and Haji Nesar did not reach the Gyanwapi campus to accompany the survey team.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been directed to halt any excavation at the Gnanavapi site by the High Court to prevent potential damage to the historical site. Instead, the ASI will now employ Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technology, which utilizes radio wave frequencies to detect objects and structures beneath the ground or within walls.
The use of GPR technology will allow the ASI to conduct a non-invasive survey, obtaining valuable information about the site’s subsurface features without the need for physical excavation. This approach ensures the preservation of the site’s integrity while still providing crucial insights into its historical significance.
Furthermore, the ASI will examine evidence using carbon dating methods, a reliable technique to determine the age of organic materials found at the site. This will aid in establishing accurate timelines and historical context.
Additionally, the survey will involve checking for color changes in walls, foundations, and soil, which can indicate potential alterations or historical layers within the site.
By adopting these advanced and non-destructive methodologies, the ASI demonstrates its commitment to conducting a thorough and responsible investigation of the Gnanavapi site. The utilization of GPR technology and other scientific methods will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the site’s past and cultural significance without compromising its physical integrity.
Who Will Attend the Survey?
During the survey at the Gnanawapi campus, a diverse group of individuals will be present, representing various parties and authorities involved in the process. Here’s a breakdown of the attendees:
- Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Team: A 20-member team from the ASI will lead the scientific survey and investigation at the site.
- Hindu Party: Representatives from the Hindu party will actively participate in the survey. Four women plaintiffs from the Hindu side, along with four lawyers, will be present during the survey.
- Muslim Party: While the Muslim party has maintained a distance from the survey, four people from the mosque committee and four of their lawyers have been asked to be present during the survey.
- Anjuman Arrangements Joint Secretary SM Yasin Masajid: He represents the Muslim party and has appealed against the survey order in the Supreme Court.
- Government Advocates: The survey will be attended by the advocate of the District Government, advocate of the State Government, and advocate of the Central Government.
- Administrative Authorities: Additional District Magistrate (City) and one Additional Commissioner of Police will also be present during the survey.
- Photographer and Videographer: The recording of the survey process will be carried out by individuals from the Hindu party, including advocate Sudhir Tripathi, Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi, Anupam Dwivedi, etc.
It is evident that the survey will be attended by a range of stakeholders, including representatives from both religious parties, legal experts, and government authorities. The presence of diverse perspectives and expertise aims to ensure a thorough and balanced investigation of the Gnanawapi site’s historical significance while respecting the concerns of all parties involved.