Security upped, Gyanvapi pond area now a fortress | Varanasi News – Times of India

VARANASI: The pond area of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, where a shivling was purportedly found during a court-mandated survey last Monday, became a fortress on Wednesday with unauthorised entry cut off much ahead of the protected zone and officials conducting surprise checks in keeping with the Supreme Court’s directive on Tuesday to seal off the wuzu khana.
The ablution pond had been sealed on Monday on the orders of Varanasi civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar. This was soon after a lawyer representing one of the plaintiffs in the Shringar Gauri worship case claimed the ongoing survey had revealed a shivling hidden under the water.
“The pond area is covered and has a fencing with doors that have been sealed to ensure no one reaches even close to the restricted area. Senior officials are keeping round-the-clock vigil,” DM Kaushal Raj Sharma told TOI.
“Sealing the pond area is like an extra layer of security. It was refilled with water after the survey. Reaching even close to the inner well that contains the ‘shivling’ is not easy. Nobody can reach close to the structure without entering the pond.”

Based on the court-appointed commission’s recommendation, the DM had requisitioned a team from the fisheries department to drain out water from the pond to ensure that the fish there were not harmed.
Police commissioner A Satish Ganesh said the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi premises had been a protected zone long before the current dispute went to court. “The complex has had three layers of security since 1991. A standing committee under the ADG (security) looks after security. The Gyanvapi mosque falls in the red zone (inner cordon) of the premises and is guarded by the CRPF, which has watchtowers in and around the mosque area. One watchtower is close to the wuzu pond”.

Meanwhile, survey report will be submitted to Varanasi civil judge on Thursday, coinciding with hearings related to a plea to raze the northern basement wall of the mosque in search of the ‘shivling’.

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