Sunday, March 3, 2024

Allahabad HC refuses interim stay on ‘Puja’ inside Gyanvapi mosque

The Allahabad High Court on Friday refused to allow the Gyanvapi Mosque committee’s plea seeking an interim stay on Puja being performed in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi Mosque.

The Court has directed the state government to maintain law and order situation in the area, Live Law reported.

A group of Hindus, led by Varanasi District Magistrate S Rajalingam, prayed inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex on Wednesday night, hours after a district court passed a direction allowing them to do so.

On Wednesday evening, Rajalingam along with other government officials, entered the mosque complex and spent nearly two hours inside the complex.

The Varanasi court allowed Hindus to offer prayers in the sealed basement of the mosque complex after an Archaeological Survey of India report claimed that a Hindu temple that existed at the site was destroyed in the 17th Century and built over.

The court ordered that the arrangements for Hindu prayers, including the removal of barricades, be completed within a week. The prayers should be conducted by priests of the neighbouring Kashi Vishwanath temple, the court ordered.

“Compliance with the court order was ensured on Wednesday night when a priest arranged by the Kashi Vishwanath temple trust performed the Shayan Arti of the deities inside the southern cellar. A gate was also installed after cutting steel grills near the southern cellar doors,” Rajalingam said, reported The Times of India.

On the same day Hindus conducted prayer inside the mosque, workers of the Hindutva group Rashtriya Hindu Dal were seen vandalising signboards in the area, pasting the words “mandir” and “temple” on a sign showing the way to the Gyanvapi mosque.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court asked the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee to approach the Allahabad High Court against the Varanasi district court’s order allowing the prayers inside the mosque complex.

The Hindu nationalists have been campaigning that the historic mosque was built on the site of the original Kashi Vishwanath temple, while Muslims maintain that the mosque was built on Waqf premises and that the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 barred changing the character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.

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