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Drone surveillance being conducted at Gyanvapi complex amid 'bandh' announcement

Varanasi: Drone surveillance was conducted at the Gyanvapi complex amid the 'bandh' announced by the Muslim community.
With the Muslim side moving the Allahabad High Court challenging a Varanasi court verdict, allowing Hindu devotees to hold prayers inside the disputed 'Vyas Ka Tekhana' area of the Gyanvapi mosque, a heavy security cordon was thrown around the complex on Friday
In a landmark judgement, a Varanasi court on Wednesday allowed Hindus to offer prayers inside the 'Vyas Ka Tekhana' area of the Gyanvapi mosque complex.
The court directed the district administration to make the necessary arrangements in the next seven days.
"Today, the basement of Vyas-ji was opened and the crowd of (Hindu) devotees has been swelling ever since. This moment of happiness has arrived after 31 years of waiting. We are all happy. Till now, only the priests of Vishwanath temple could worship (in the disputed area) but now, there's every possibility that new priests will be appointed," said Sohan Lal Arya, a petitioner from the Hindu side.
Another petitioner in the Gyanvapi case, Lakshmi Devi, told ANI, "This moment, which arrived after years of wait, has filled all Sanatanis with happiness."
Also speaking with ANI, advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, one of the petitioners on the Hindu side, said, "The puja will start within seven days. Everyone is welcome to hold prayers here."
On Thursday, the barricades of Vyas Ka Tehkhana (basement) of the mosque were removed and daily arti and puja were performed early in the morning.
Jain added that Mangla Arti was performed at 3.30 in the morning and a bhog was offered at noon.
"Timings for Aarti at Vyas cellar. Daily 5 aarti -- Mangla- 3:30 am, Bhog- 12 pm, Apranh- 4 pm, Sanykaal- 7 pm, Shayan- 10:30 pm. 2 done so far," Jain informed through a post on X.
Meanwhile, weighing in on the Varanasi court order, allowing devotees to pray in the disputed basement, Akhlaq Ahmed, a lawyer for the Muslim side, said, "The order overlooked the Advocate Commissioner report of 2022, the ASI report, and the ruling of 1937 which was in our favour. The Hindu side did not provide any evidence to support their claim that prayers were held before 1993. There is no such idol at the site."

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