Court removes Gyanvapi survey’s commissioner

Civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar ordered the removal of Mishra on an application by special advocate commissioner, Vishal Singh, who alleged that Mishra “deployed a personal cameraman who was giving wrong byte in the media on a regular basis”
View of the Gyanvapi mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi. (PTI Photo)
View of the Gyanvapi mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi. (PTI Photo)
Updated on May 18, 2022 02:19 AM IST
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By, Varanasi

A Varanasi local court on Tuesday removed advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra, who was in charge of the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, over allegations that he leaked details of the controversial process, and granted the panel two days for submitting the final report of the exercise.

Civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar ordered the removal of Mishra on an application by special advocate commissioner, Vishal Singh, who alleged that Mishra “deployed a personal cameraman who was giving wrong byte in the media on a regular basis”.

“Advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra showed irresponsible behaviour...” said the court. “The private cameraman deployed by Ajay Kumar Mishra, gave bytes to the media regularly, which is against judicial dignity. Hence, advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra is removed with immediate effect,” it added.

All the work of the commission after May 12 will be handled by Vishal Singh and assistant advocate commissioner Ajay Pratap Singh will work under his direction, the judge ordered.

The order came after an unverified video showing the tank, where Hindu petitioners claim the Shivling was found, went viral on social media and was run by some television channels. HT couldn’t independently verify whether the video was authentic.

The decades-old dispute over the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Masjid was reignited last year by a petition by five Hindu women who wanted the right to pray to idols of deities they claimed were installed within the mosque complex.

On April 8, the civil court ordered a survey of the premises and appointed Mishra in charge of the exercise. On April 21, the Allahabad high court rejected the Muslim side’s plea of suspending the survey.

The survey began on May 6 but ran into protests from Muslim groups. The next day, these groups asked the civil court to remove Mishra for showing bias but on May 12, the court refused, ordered two more advocates (Vishal Singh and Ajay Pratap Singh) to join the exercise.

The controversial survey was completed on May 16; hours later, the Hindu side claimed that a “Shivling” was recovered from the ceremonial ablution tank of the mosque and asked the civil court to seal the spot. By the afternoon, the civil court had ordered the authorities to do so.

In his application filed on May 17, Vishal Singh alleged that Mishra and Ajay Pratap Singh were not taking interest in the work of the commission. He also said that Mishra hired a private cameraman, RP Singh, who was repeatedly giving “wrong bytes” to the media.

Both Mishra and Ajay Pratap Singh said they were cooperating fully. “ I don’t want to make a comment as to why Vishal Singh said so...” Mishra said.

The court had also asked for the survey report to be submitted on Tuesday but Ajay Pratap Singh said the commission sought additional time as they were able to ready just about “50 per cent of the report” . “There was some delay in making the map of the area,” he added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sudhir Kumar is Varanasi based senior staff correspondent.He covers all developments, politics, education--primary, secondary and higher -- crime, offbeat, tribes and human angle stories

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