Varanasi District Court Allows To Hindu To Do Puja in Gyanvapi Mosque Basement, Know Here

On Wednesday, a Varanasi District Court allowed the Hindus to pray in the southern basement of the Gyanvapi Mosque. The court ordered the Varanasi District Magistrate to arrange for the Hindu side to perform pooja and to nominate a poojari from Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust.

The Varanasi District Court appointed the Varanasi District Magistrate as a receiver on January 17. He was instructed to keep the cellar safe and not make any changes.

On January 24, a team of district administrators led by district magistrate Prakash Chandra concluded the process for the DM to become the receiver and take the cellar into his custody.

Puja will begin in seven days. Vishnu Shankar Jain said that everyone will be entitled to perform Puja. The mosque’s basement contains four “makhanas” (cellars), one still owned by the Vyas Family, who once lived there.

As a hereditary Pujari, Vyas requested that he enter the Tahkhana to resume pooja.

Muslim Side Appeals In High Court

Akhlaque Ahmed, the counsel for the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, said he would appeal the decision to the higher court. The court set February 8 for the hearing of an application from the mosque committee stating that the appeal should be dismissed.

The cellar is part of the Gyanvapi Mosque. Worship could not take place. “Pooja is not allowed, therefore,” Ahmad said to HT.

The order of the district court comes just a day after the Supreme Court granted a request by four Hindu women for excavation and scientific surveys of a sealed portion of the mosque.

This was after an Archaeological Survey of India report concluded that there had been a large Hindu Temple before the construction of this mosque.

Hindus Claim The Disputed Structure Shivling; Muslims Reject The Claim

The petition stated that “it is suggested that for an effective and proper investigation, the ASI be directed to conduct necessary excavations and use other scientific techniques around the Shiva Lingam for determining its nature and associated features.

This should not cause any damage to the object once artificial/modern floors/walls are removed from the Shiva Lingam.” The area in question contains a structure that is under dispute. Hindus claim it’s a Shivlingam. Muslims, however, say that it’s part of an ablution tank.

Gyanvapi Mosque: All You Need To Know

Gyanvapi Mosque is the subject of a long-running legal and historical dispute, as many Hindu groups think that it was built on top of a portion of Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

The mosque is situated near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and the current legal proceedings began after a group of women asked permission to pray daily before the idols that adorn its outer walls.

In the case of the Gyanvapi Mosque, several petitions were filed with the Supreme Court, Allahabad High Court and Varanasi Court. According to reports, 18 cases related to the Gyanvapi case are being heard in Varanasi courts, along with the original suit filed at the High Court.

The petitions address different aspects of the dispute, including the construction of the mosque by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and the right to pray inside the disputed location.

How Did The Gyanvapi Masjid Case Start?

In October 1991, Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar filed a petition before a Varanasi Civil Judge on behalf of five other individuals demanding the restoration of Gyanvapi land adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The petition demanded the removal of Muslims and the demolition of the mosque.

The petitioners in 1991 claimed that Aurangzeb ordered the mosque’s construction by demolishing a part of the Kashi Vishwanath temple during his reign, which took place in the 16th Century.

In 1997, however, the Varanasi civil court ruled that the case was not maintainable as per the Places of Worship Act of 1991. The temple and the mosque filed several revision petitions in the district court.

In 1998, the district judge merged all petitions and instructed the civil court to adjudicate the dispute after considering all evidence. The High Court, however, stayed the Varanasi District Court order. The High Court continued to extend the stay for another 22 years.

In 2020, plaintiffs approached the Varanasi Civil Court to reopen a case on hold since 1998. The plaintiffs cited an order of the Supreme Court from 2018, which stated that stay orders must be corrected every six months. The civil court agreed that the case should be reopened because this had not been done.

In 2021, the Allahabad High Court stayed proceedings on Kashi Vishwanath Mandir and Gyanvapi Masjid in a Varanasi Court.

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Gyanvapi Case: Court Battle So Far

  • 2019: After the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Babri Masjid/Ram Janmabhoomi dispute, the ongoing controversy started in 2019. In the second case, a Varanasi lawyer named Vijay Shankar Rastogi, who referred to himself as “the next friend” of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar, filed a complaint in the lower courts claiming that the construction of Gyanvapi Mosque was illegal and requesting an archaeological survey.
  • The Varanasi Civil Judge ordered the ASI to conduct a scientific study of the Gyanvapi Complex. The Allahabad High Court suspended the order and merged this case with the original lawsuit.
  • 2021: Five Hindu women filed a third case seeking permission to conduct daily prayer at “a shrine located behind the western wall of the mosque complex” and protection of idols. In 2022, the Varanasi Court heard the petition of the five Hindu women.
  • 2022: The Varanasi Court appointed Advocate Commissioner Ajay Mishra to inspect the site and “prepare a videography of action”. A report was also submitted. The Hindu side claimed a Shivling was found by the surveying team in the “wazoo khana” in the Mosque Complex.
  • May 16, 2022: On May 16, the Gyanvapi Mosque survey was completed. Hindus have claimed that a “Shivling” was discovered inside a reservoir at the mosque complex during the survey. The Muslim side dismissed the claim, saying it was just a ‘fountain.
  • The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) deemed the court order to videotape a violation of The Places of Worship Act 1991. According to the Places of Worship Act of 1991, it is illegal to change the religious nature of a worship place from what it was on August 15, 1997.
  • September 20, 2022: In the Gyanvapi Case, the Varanasi District Court rejected the Anjuman Committee’s appeal against the Hindu worshippers’ request (for the right to pray in the disputed location). The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee then appealed the Varanasi district court’s order and filed a case before the Allahabad High Court.
  • May 20, 2023: Following an order from the Allahabad High Court, a Varanasi District Court agreed to hear an ASI survey request. The Supreme Court ordered that the area surrounding the alleged ‘shilling,’ found by another court-ordered video of the complex, be protected.
  • June 20, 2023: In its ruling, the HC upheld a Varanasi District Court order which stated that Hindu groups were not prohibited by the Places of Worship Act (Special Provisions), 1991 and that the suit to allow Hindus to pray inside the Gyanvapi Mosque was maintainable.
  • July 20, 2023: A Varanasi Court instructed the ASI to conduct a “scientific inspection” of the mosque grounds. Ajaya Vishvesha, District and Sessions Judge of Varanasi, directed the ASI “to conduct ground penetrating radio surveys just beneath the three domes in the building and to carry out excavation if necessary”.
  • The Supreme Court halted Monday’s “detailed survey” until 5 pm on July 26, saying that “some breathing space” was needed for an appeal.
  • August 20, 2023: The High Court confirms the district judge’s decision to allow the survey of Gyanvapi Mosque. The ASI began surveying the Gyanvapi premises barricaded but excluding the sealed section on August 4, 2023.
  • November 30, 2023: After five extensions granted in September, October 5, November 2, and November 17, the district court asked that the ASI submit its survey report no later than December 11.
  • December 11, 2023: Varanasi District Court gave the Archaeological Survey of India one week more to complete a scientific report of the Gyanvapi Mosque Complex.
  • December 18, 2023: The Archaeological Survey of India submitted its report to the Varanasi District Court on the scientific survey of Gyanvapi Mosque premises.
  • January 24, 2024: Both Hindus and Muslims will have access to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI’s) survey report of the Gyanvapi Mosque. The Varanasi Court announced this. The court stated that the parties must sign an affidavit stating they will keep the report and not make it publicly available after receiving it.
  • January 25 2024: According to the Hindu side, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the survey indicates a large Hindu Temple in Varanasi before the construction of the Masjid. Vishnu Shankar Jain of the Hindu side of the case read the ASI report and said that the existing structure contains pillars from the previous structure.
  • January 31, 2024. The Varanasi Court granted permission to Hindu petitioners to perform Puja in the basement of Gyanvapi Mosque premises. The case is a basement belonging to one Somnath Viyas. Vyas’s family performed pujas in the basement until 1993. However, after the order of the state government, worshipping stopped.


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