Gyanvapi Case: Court Allows Hindu Side To Offer Prayers In Basement; 'Puja To Start In 7 Days', Says Lawyer

Gyanvapi Case: Court Allows Hindu Side To Offer Prayers In Basement; 'Puja To Start In 7 Days', Says Lawyer

Local administration will make all arrangements for the same within a week.

Rahul MUpdated: Wednesday, January 31, 2024, 07:07 PM IST
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Gyanvapi Mosque | File

Varanasi: The Varanasi District Judge instructed the District Administration to make necessary arrangements within seven days to facilitate Hindu worship rituals inside one of the sealed cellars, known as "Vyas Ji Ka Tehkhana," within the Gyanvapi mosque complex. Worship at this location was halted in 1993.

The issue pertains to the "Somnath Vyas" cellar within the premises of the Gyanvapi Mosque. Until 1993, religious ceremonies were conducted by the Vyas family in this basement. However, following a directive from the state government, these religious practices were ceased.

It's worth mentioning that the Varanasi District administration assumed control of the southern cellar within the Gyanvapi mosque complex on January 24. On January 17, the District Judge appointed the District Magistrate as a receiver.

"District Magistrate, Varanasi / receiver is directed to get puja, raga-blog performed of idols located in the southern cellar of #GyanvapiMosque (suit property), through a priest nominated by Kashi Vishwanath Trust Board & plaintiff. For this purpose, make proper arrangements of iron fencing etc. in 7 days," the operative part of the court order said.

Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, who represented the Hindu side in court, said, "Hindu side allowed to offer prayers at 'Vyas Ka Tekhana'. The District Administration will have to make arrangements within 7 days. Everyone will now have the right to perform puja".

Mosque committee to challenge decision

Akhlaque Ahmad, representing the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, expressed intentions to contest the decision in a superior court. The court has scheduled February 8 for the hearing of an application filed by the mosque committee, which seeks dismissal of the plea.

The district court's ruling follows a petition submitted to the Supreme Court by four Hindu women requesting excavation and a scientific survey of a sealed portion of the mosque. This move came after an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report suggested the presence of a significant Hindu temple predating the mosque's construction.

The mosque's basement contains four 'tahkhanas' (cellars), one of which remains under the ownership of the Vyas family, who were former residents of the area. The Vyas family requested permission for the hereditary priest, claiming their right to perform rituals within the tahkhana once again.

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