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Allahabad HC Allows Hindu ‘Puja’ in Gyanvapi Mosque Cellar

Gyanvapi Mosque

In a significant development, the Allahabad High Court has ruled in favor of the Hindu community, allowing them to continue performing puja (worship) inside the Vyas Tehkhana of the Gyanvapi Mosque. The court dismissed the appeals filed by the Gyanvapi mosque management committee, upholding the district judge’s orders.

Background of Gyanvapi Mosque

The Gyanvapi Mosque, located in the ancient city of Varanasi, has been a site of historical and religious significance for centuries. The mosque stands adjacent to the revered Kashi Vishwanath Temple, a sacred place for Hindus. The dispute over the mosque’s ownership and usage has been a contentious issue, with both Hindu and Muslim communities asserting their rights.

Court Verdict on Gyanvapi Mosque

The Allahabad High Court’s verdict comes after a prolonged legal battle. Here are the key points:

  1. Vyas Tehkhana: The southern cellar of the Gyanvapi Mosque, known as Vyas Tehkhana, has been at the center of the dispute. On January 17, the Varanasi district judge appointed the district magistrate as the receiver of this cellar. Subsequently, on January 31, the court allowed Hindu devotees to perform puja within its confines.
  2. Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee: The Muslim side, represented by the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee, challenged the district court’s order. They moved the Allahabad High Court seeking a reversal of the decision.
  3. Maternal Grandfather’s Legacy: The court issued the order based on the petition of Shailendra Kumar Pathak, whose maternal grandfather, Somnath Vyas, had been offering prayers in the Tehkhana until December 1993. This historical continuity played a crucial role in the court’s decision.

Reactions

  • Sanatan Dharm Victory: Advocates representing the Hindu side hailed the verdict as a “big victory for Sanatan Dharm.” They emphasized that the puja would continue as before, with the district magistrate overseeing the Tehkhana.
  • Muslim Side’s Options: The Muslim side has the option to seek a review of the decision. However, for now, the ongoing puja in the Vyas Tehkhana remains undisturbed.

Shiva Linga Controversy

Coinciding with the court proceedings, a three-day videography survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex was conducted. Notably, the lawyer representing Hindu women claimed that a Shiva Linga had been discovered in a pond inside the mosque complex1. This revelation adds another layer of intrigue to the already sensitive case.

As the legal battle continues, the Gyanvapi Mosque remains a symbol of India’s rich cultural and religious heritage, where history and faith intersect in complex ways.

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