Court orders sealing area in Gyanvapi Mosque where 'Shivling' found

Heavy security was deployed as the court-appointed committee reached the spot to conduct the survey on Monday
Last Updated : 16 May 2022, 15:14 IST
Last Updated : 16 May 2022, 15:14 IST

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A Varanasi court on Monday ordered the district authorities to 'seal' the place inside the Gyanvapi Mosque after Hindu lawyers claimed that a 'Shivling' measuring 12 feet 8 inches was found there during the videography and survey at the Mosque premises, which concluded on Monday.

The court passed the order on an application moved by Vishnu Jain and S N Chaturvedi, the lawyers representing the Hindu petitioners.

''The court has directed the district magistrate of Varanasi to immediately seal the area where the shivling was found....it also directed that the CRPF would be deployed to protect the sealed area and that no one should be allowed to enter the same,'' Jain said.

Chaturvedi said that the 'shivaling' measured around four feet. ''The shivaling, made of black stone, emerged after water was drained and silt was removed from the well,'' he claimed.

According to the Hindu lawyers, the 'Shivling' was found in the pond situated opposite the mosque and its water was used by the Muslims for the purpose of 'wuzu' (islamic procedure for cleansing of body parts before prayers).

Sources said that the lawyers and others representing the Hindus chanted 'har har Mahadev' and shouted 'Baba Mil Gaye' (We have got Lord Shiva).

The lawyers representing the Muslims, however, refuted the claim and said that what was being called a 'shivalinga' was in fact a 'fountain'. ''It is a fountain having holes in it....there are taps attached to it,'' claimed Mohammed Tauhid Khan, who represented the Muslim petitioners.

Khan also claimed that the Varanasi court did not hear the Muslim lawyers before passing the order to seal the place. ''The order was passed after hearing the Hindu lawyers in the chamber,'' he said.

The advocate commissioner Ajai Kumar Mishra, who headed the survey team inside the Mosque, however, remained tightlipped when asked about the claims of existence of 'Shivling'. ''We will submit our report to the court by Tuesday as per the direction of the court,'' he said.

Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that it (Shivling existence in Gyanvapi mosque) contained a 'huge message' to the ancient Sanatan Dharma tradition in the country.

The premises had been a bone of contention between the two communities for the past several decades but there was renewed clamor to ''take back'' the Kashi Vishwanath Temple premises by the saffron outfits after the favourable decision of the apex court in the Ram Temple case.

The Akhil Bhartiya Sant Samiti (ABSS) had earlier asked the Muslims to ''hand over'' the Kashi Vishwanath Temple land in Varanasi on which, according to them, the Gyanvapi Mosque currently existed and had threatened to launch an agitation to 'liberate' the same if it did not happen. Some saffron leaders had even threatened to demolish what they termed the 'blots' on the rich history of Hinduism and must be 'removed' without delay.

The Hindus claimed that the Temple had been built by King Vikramadaitya around two thousand years back. It was demolished by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb in the 16th century.

Five women had filed a petition in the court seeking permission for daily worship at the Shringar Gauri temple, which was allegedly situated inside the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi Mosque premises. The order of the court for undertaking survey and videography at the premises came on their petition.

Another petition filed by one Vijay Shankar Rastogi, who had contended that the entire premises belonged to the Kashi Vishwanath and that the Gyanvapi Mosque was only a part of the Temple, was also pending in the court. The petition had been filed in 1991.

The court had ordered a videography and survey inside the mosque premises. The videography survey was undertaken amid tight security arrangements. The survey, which continued for several days, concluded on Monday.

A court in Varanasi had a couple of says back rejected an application moved by the Muslim contestants seeking to stop the videography survey and remove the advocate commissioner Ajai Kumar Mishra and ordered that the survey and videography would continue.

The court also directed that the survey work be completed by May 17 and the report of the same be submitted to the court.

The Muslim parties had objected to the survey work and contended that it was being done without there being any orders from the court in this regard. They had also sought removal of Ajai Mishra.

Published 16 May 2022, 07:36 IST

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