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Varanasi Court Defers Verdict on Plea to Worship Gyanvapi Mosque 'Shivling'

The plea had sought permission to allow worship of a 'shivling' claimed to have been found in the Gyanvapi mosque complex, and sought a ban on the entry of Muslims into the premises.
File image: Security forces outside the Gyanvapi mosque complex on May 17. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: A local court in Varanasi on Tuesday, November 8, deferred the pronouncement on a plea seeking permission to allow worship of a ‘shivling’ claimed to have been found in the Gyanvapi mosque complex.

As the civil judge (senior division) of the court Mahendra Pandey is on leave, the court posted the matter for November 14, assistant district government counsel Sulabh Prakash told news agency PTI.

The court had on October 27 reserved its order on the suit for November 8.

On May 24, plaintiff Kiran Singh, who is general secretary of the Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh, had filed the suit in the Varanasi district court seeking a ban on the entry of Muslims into the Gyanvapi complex. In her plea, she had also sought the handing over of the complex to the Sanatan Sangh and permission to offer prayers to the ‘shivling’.

On May 25, district court Judge A.K. Vishvesh had ordered the transfer of the suit to a fast-track court.

Varanasi district magistrate, police commissioner, Anjuman Intezamia Committee that is managing the Gyanvapi mosque, and Vishwanath Temple Trust were made respondents in the suit.

On April 26, a lower court that was earlier hearing a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily worship of idols of Hindu deities on the mosque’s outer walls had ordered a videographic survey of the Gyanvapi complex and the Hindu plaintiff had claimed a ‘shivling’ was found during the exercise.

Also read: The Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi Equation: A Parable for People, Power, Politics

The caretakers of the mosque have maintained that the object was part of the water fountain mechanism at the wazookhana (reservoir) where devotees carry out ablutions before offering ‘namaz’.

The Hindu plaintiff had demanded carbon dating of the structure. A district court in Varanasi had on October 14 rejected the Hindu plaintiffs’ plea on this matter.

The court had rejected the plea in view of the Supreme Court’s May 17 order to protect the site where the object was found, while the mosque was being surveyed.

Any harm to the ‘shivling’ will also hurt religious sentiments and lessen the chances of a legal resolution of the dispute, the court had said.

Separately, there’s another case demanding a survey of closed underground places in the Gyanvapi premises, to which the mosque committee had raised its objection in the matter. This case will be heard on November 11.

(With inputs from PTI)

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