‘Shivling’ or water fountain: Row after UP Gyanvapi mosque survey | Top updates

  • The All India Muslim Personal Law Board termed the claim of Shivling in the Gyanvapi mosque complex 'unfair' and an 'attempt to create communal disharmony'.
A worker stands on a temple rooftop adjacent to the Gyanvapi Mosque in the northern city of Varanasi, India.(Reuters / File)
A worker stands on a temple rooftop adjacent to the Gyanvapi Mosque in the northern city of Varanasi, India.(Reuters / File)
Published on May 17, 2022 06:19 AM IST
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By | Edited by Kunal Gaurav

Varanasi witnessed a high-voltage drama on Monday after the conclusion of a court-mandated videography survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex as the counsel representing the Hindu side claimed that a Shivling was found close to the “wuzukhana” – a small reservoir used by Muslim devotees to perform ablutions before offering the namaz. The Varanasi district court issued an order to seal the area where the Hindu petitioner in the case, Sohan Lal Arya, claimed that the committee found a Shivling at the complex. A mosque management committee member vehemently disputed the claim, saying the object was part of the water fountain mechanism at the “wuzukhana”.

Here's what you need to know on the Gyanvapi mosque row:

The original suit was filed in 1991 in the Varanasi district court for the restoration of the ancient temple at the site where the Gyanvapi mosque currently stands. The video survey of the mosque was ordered on April 18, 2021, by Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar following the plea by Delhi residents Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, and others. The Muslim side has been citing the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 and its Section 4 which bars any legal proceeding for a conversion of the religious character of any place of worship, as existing on August 15, 1947.

Anjuman Intezamiya Masjid Committee joint secretary Syed Mohammad Yasin said that the mosque management was not given a chance to present their argument before the court issued the order to seal the area on the basis of claims made by the Hindu petitioner. He also questioned the classification of the object in the wuzukhana as Shivling. Yasin said that all mosques built during the Mughal era had fountains at the 'wuzukhana' and like other mosques, a green stone was also fixed at the fountain of the Gyanvapi mosque.

The claim of Shivling inside the mosque complex, which is near the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple, reignited the mandir-masjid debate. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi said he was about 19 or 20 years old when “the Babri Masjid was “snatched from us” and the community will not allow this to happen to people who are of that age now. 

Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya expressed satisfaction over the development and tweeted in Hindi, "Satya hi Shiv hai. (Shiva is truth)”. Maurya said the news of the discovery of a ‘Shivling’ from the Gyanvapi mosque complex on the occasion of Buddha Purnima is a message of the country’s eternal Hindu traditions.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear today a petition filed against the video survey ordered by the Varanasi district court. A two-judge bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha will hear the plea of the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, which manages the affairs of Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

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