Gyanvapi dispute | Varanasi court defers order on petition filed by Hindu plaintiffs

Hindu plaintiffs claim that a disputed structure found in the mosque premises is a “shivling”; mosque panel insists that the structure is part of the fountain in the wuzu khana (ablution pond). 

October 07, 2022 10:20 pm | Updated October 08, 2022 09:33 am IST - New Delhi

The Gyanvapi Mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi. File

The Gyanvapi Mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Varanasi district court on Friday deferred the order on an application filed by some of the Hindu plaintiffs in the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple civil dispute seeking “scientific investigation” of the disputed structure reportedly found inside the mosque premises in May.

While the Hindu plaintiffs have claimed that the structure is a “Shivling”, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee has insisted that the structure is part of the fountain in the mosque’s wuzu khana (ablution pond). 

District Judge A.K. Vishvesha had at the last hearing reserved his orders and was expected to deliver the order on Friday, when all parties had shown up in court. The application sought “scientific investigation”, including carbon-dating of the structure, reportedly found during a court-ordered video survey of the mosque in May

On Friday, advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, who had sought the tests on behalf of four of the five plaintiffs, submitted before the court that their application for “scientific investigation was rooted in the condition that no damage be caused to the structure in question”. 

Following this, the masjid panel, expecting to hear the order on Friday, said they needed time to file a reply to the point raised by Mr. Jain. The matter has now been posted for next hearing on October 11, senior advocate Mumtaz Ahmed told The Hindu.  

At the last hearing, the masjid panel had objected to the application seeking tests on two grounds. It said carbon-dating was not the scientifically appropriate test for such a structure and besides, such a test would violate orders of the Supreme Court which had mandated that the structure be protected. 

At the time, the lead plaintiff in the case - Rakhi Singh - had also objected to the application, arguing that carbon-dating would destroy the structure - rendering it not worthy of worship and thereby hurting the sentiments of Hindus across the country.

However, on Friday, advocate Anupam Dwivedi, one of the lawyers representing Ms. Singh, said, “The plaintiffs who filed the application have corrected their position now and have agreed to our only condition that no damage should be caused. And so, we do not have any more problems with the scientific investigation if it helps us prove our case.”

The suit being heard by the district court currently is the one filed by five Hindu women, seeking the right to worship Maa Shringar Gauri and other visible and invisible deities within the Gyanvapi mosque premises all year round.   

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