Varanasi court allows Hindus to worship in Gyanvapi mosque basement

In this file photograph from August 8, 2023, members of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conduct a scientific survey at the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi. File photo: PTI

Varanasi: A local court on Wednesday allowed Hindus to worship inside the sealed basement of the Gyanvapi mosque. The court has asked the district administration to make the necessary arrangements in the next seven days.
As per the court order, Hindu devotees can now offer prayers at 'Vyas Ka Tehkhana', a sealed area inside the Gyanvapi mosque.

While speaking to reporters, advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the Hindu side, said, "The Hindu side has been allowed to offer prayers at 'Vyas Ka Tehkhana'. The District Administration will have to make arrangements within seven days. Everyone will now have the right to perform puja."

The Muslim side said that it will appeal against the court order in the High Court.

Earlier in the day, The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages the Gyanvapi mosque, on a plea challenging a Varanasi court's refusal to direct the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey of the 'wazu khana' area in the mosque complex.

The order was passed by Justice Rohit Ranjan Agrawal on a revision petition filed by Rakhi Singh, who is one of the plaintiffs in the Shringar Gauri worshipping suit, which is presently pending before the Varanasi district court.

In the application she had filed before the Varanasi court, Singh's primary contention was that the survey of the 'wazu khana', excluding its portion where a 'Shivling' was claimed to be found, is necessary to ascertain the religious character of the property in question.

'Wazu khana' is where ablutions are performed before offering namaz. The district judge court had rejected Singh's application on October 21, 2023.
(With IANS, PTI inputs)

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