Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court defers ruling on plea for ‘Shivling’ worship

File photo of Gyanvapi mosque

The case has now been postponed until November 14. 

Afnan Habib | 

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NEW DELHI — A fast-track court in Varanasi on Tuesday postponed the announcement of its decision about the maintainability of a petition seeking to prohibit Muslims from entering the grounds of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. 

Earlier reports stated that the judgment would be delivered on November 8. However, the case has now been postponed until November 14. On October 27, the Fast Track Court of Civil judge (senior division) reserved a decision in the case.

According to the Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh (VVSS) lawsuit, the plaintiffs should be permitted to pray to Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar and worship the “Shiva Linga,” which was allegedly discovered inside the Gyanvapi complex, and the court should grant the Hindus possession of the entire complex.

The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee (AIMC), which oversees the mosque, challenged the viability of the Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh’s (VVSS) lawsuit, filed by Kiran Singh, who is the international general secretary of VVSS, for the prohibition and control of the property. According to the argument, the mosque is listed as a waqf (charitable endowment) property. Hence the civil court lacks the authority to consider the case.

In another plea, a group of Hindu women argued that the mosque should be allowed to be used for religious purposes because a Hindu temple once stood there. The women were represented by attorney Vishnu Shankar Jain, who asked the top court to take up the case before the protection period expired on November 12. 

After a trial court permitted a videographic examination of the mosque complex next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, the top court ordered the protection of the area where the “Shivling” was alleged to have been discovered. 

“If Carbon Dating or Ground Penetrating Radar is permitted and if any damage is caused to the ‘Shiva Linga’ then it would be a violation of the Supreme Court order to protect it, and it might also hurt the religious sentiments of the general public,” the court remarked. 

On the other hand, the Muslim side has insisted that the object was a component of the water fountain system at the “wazookhana” reservoir, where devotees clean themselves with water before offering the “namaz.”

Afnan Habib is a freelance journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. He tweets at @afnanhabib_