In the four-hour exercise, conducted from 8 am and 12 noon, a 52-member team surveyed four underground cells of the mosque complex, ET learned, even as information was withheld in keeping with court orders.
“The survey was conducted harmoniously and the exercise will continue tomorrow,” Satish Ganesh, commissioner of police, Varanasi, told reporters outside the temple-mosque complex. “About 50% of the survey has been done,” Deepak Singh, an advocate who is part of the team, told reporters while refusing to comment on the findings.
Heavy police were deployed in the area, with shops within 500m closed during the survey hours.
Last Saturday, protests erupted when the inspection team reached the mosque and it was stopped from entering the premises, stalling the whole process, before the mosque committee filed a petition in a Varanasi court seeking replacement of the commissioner, accusing him of being “biased”. . “Last week there was ambiguity regarding whether the team could be allowed to go beyond the barricades and in the basement area, but since the fresh order clearly lays down directives in that respect, we cooperated completely, ” SM Yasin, general secretary of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Comittee- the committee that manages the Gyanvapi mosque, told ET.