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Varanasi Court orders five-member team of ASI to probe into Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque dispute

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Lucknow, Apr 8: The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board said on Thursday that it would challenge in the high court the Varanasi court order on the disputed premises claimed both by the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Gyanwapi mosque.

Varanasi Court orders five-member team of ASI to probe into Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque dispute

The order, given by a senior division civil court, asked the state government to get the disputed premises examined by a five-member team of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at its expense.

In a statement, Sunni Central Waqf Board chairperson Zufar Ahmad Farooqui said the order would be challenged before the Allahabad High Court.

"Our understanding is clear that this case is barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991," Faruqi said.

"The Places of Worship Act was upheld by a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya judgment. The status of the Gyanwapi mosque is, as such, beyond question," he said.

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The chairperson added that the order was "questionable" because technical evidence could only supplement certain foundational facts. "No evidence has been produced before the court that suggests that there was a prior existing temple at the site of the mosque," he said.

Even in the Ayodhya judgment, the ASI excavation was ultimately of no use. The ASI did not find proof that the Babri Masjid was built upon demolition of a temple, Farooqui said.

The Supreme Court has specifically observed that there was no such evidence and this practice of mosques being "investigated" by the ASI has to be stopped, the statement said.

"We will be approaching the Hon''ble High court immediately against this unwarranted order," it added.

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