Gyanvapi mosque: Hindu puja to continue in cellar as Allahabad HC dismisses plea | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Gyanvapi mosque: Hindu puja to continue in cellar as Allahabad HC dismisses plea

Feb 26, 2024 11:46 AM IST

The Varanasi court on January 31 had ruled that the Hindu side can offer prayers in the southern cellar of Gyanvapi mosque - the ‘Vyas Tehkhana’.

The Allahabad high court on Monday dismissed the Gyanvapi Mosque committee's appeal challenging the Varanasi district court's decision to offer prayers in a cellar in the Gyanvapi mosque complex. Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal of the Allahabad HC pronounced the judgment.

A priest offers prayers at 'Vyas Ji Ki Tehkhana' after the Varanasi court's judgment to allow Hindu devotees to worship inside the sealed basement of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, in Varanasi(ANI)
A priest offers prayers at 'Vyas Ji Ki Tehkhana' after the Varanasi court's judgment to allow Hindu devotees to worship inside the sealed basement of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, in Varanasi(ANI)

“After going through the entire records of the case and after considering arguments of the parties concerned, the court did not find any ground to interfere in the judgment passed by the district judge dated 17.01.2024 appointing DM, Varanasi as receiver of the property as well as the order dated 31.01.2024 by which the district court had permitted Puja in the Tehkhana,” Justice Agarwal said while pronouncing its verdict.

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Hailing the verdict, Advocate Prabhash said that it is a “big victory of the Sanatana Dharma”. “The judge dismissed the pleas that the Muslim side had filed against the District Judge's order...It means that the puja will continue as it is. District Magistrate will continue as the Receiver of the 'Tehkhana'…They (Muslim side) can go for a review of the decision. Puja will continue,” he told news agency ANI.

Also read: Ajmer Dargah chief says solve Gyanvapi, Mathura disputes ‘out of court’

Another Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, who is representing the Hindu side, said, “Today, the Allahabad High Court has dismissed the first appeal from orders of Anjuman Intezamia which was directed against the order of 17th and 31st January and the effect of the order is that the ongoing puja in the 'Vyas Tehkhana' of Gyanvapi complex will continue. If the Anjuman Intezamia comes to the Supreme Court, we will file our caveat before the top court,” he said.

The Varanasi court on January 31 had ruled that the Hindu side can offer prayers in the southern cellar of Gyanvapi mosque - the ‘Vyas Tehkhana’. The court had also directed the district magistrate to make arrangements for ‘puja’ and a ‘pujari’ nominated by Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust.

Following this, the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee, which manages Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, filed a plea before the Allahabad high court on February 1, challenging the Varanasi court's decision. This came shortly after the Supreme Court refused to urgently hear the mosque committee's plea.

Notably, the mosque has four 'tahkhanas' (cellars) in the basement, of which one is still in the possession of the Vyas family, who used to live there.

However, according to the mosque committee, the ‘Vyas Tehkhana’ was under their possession as being a part of the mosque premises, and that the Vyas family or anyone else does not have any right to worship inside the Tehkhana.

Meanwhile, the Hindu side claimed that the Vyas family conducted religious ceremonies in the basement until 1993, but they had to discontinue it in compliance with a directive from the state government.

Asaduddin Owaisi slams Varanasi court's decision

Earlier, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi called the Varanasi court's decision to allow Hindu devotees to offer prayers inside the mosque complex a “violation of the Places of Worship Act”.

“The judge who gave the decision was his last day before retirement. The judge appointed the District Magistrate as receiver on January 17 and finally, he has directly given the verdict. He said that no prayers had been offered since 1993. It has been 30 years. How does he know there is an idol inside? This is a violation of the Places of Worship Act…He has ordered to open the grills within 7 days. 30 days should have been given to make an appeal. This is a wrong decision,” he said.

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