Allahabad High Court refuses to stay ‘puja’ at Gyanvapi mosque cellar : The Tribune India

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Allahabad High Court refuses to stay ‘puja’ at Gyanvapi mosque cellar

Varanasi District Court had on Wednesday granted a Hindu priest the right to worship deities in Gyanvapi mosque’s southern cellar

Allahabad High Court refuses to stay ‘puja’ at Gyanvapi mosque cellar

The Gyanvapi Mosque complex as seen from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. PTI file



Satya Prakash

New Delhi, February 2

The Allahabad High Court on Friday refused to stay the ongoing ‘puja’ at Gyanvapi mosque’s southern cellar (known as Vyas Ji ka Tahakhana), saying Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee—which manages Gyanvapi mosque – has not challenged the January 17 order appointing the District Magistrate as a receiver.

Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal asked Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee to amend its appeal against the January 31 of the Varanasi District Judge allowing ‘puja’ at the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque and posted it for hearing on February 6.

Justice Agarwal asked the Uttar Pradesh Government to maintain law and order even as Uttar Pradesh Advocate General Ajay Mishra assured the high court that law and order shall be maintained by the District Magistrate pursuant to the order passed by the District Judge, Varanasi allowing puja to be offered to the deities in the southern cellar of Gyanvapi mosque premises.

On behalf of the Hindu side—the plaintiff before the District Court, Varanasi – advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain raised a preliminary objection regarding the maintainability of the appeal on the ground that the basic order dated January 17, 2024, has not been challenged.

Senior counsel SFA Naqvi, representing Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee, submitted that he will be filing the amendment application amending the appeal and laying challenge to the January 17 order passed by the District Judge, Varanasi on the application moved by the plaintiff (Hindu side).

“On a joint request of both the sides, the high court has posted the matter for further hearing on February 6,” Jain told The Tribune.

Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee had on Thursday moved the Allahabad High Court against a Varanasi district court’s order allowing a Hindu priest to offer ‘puja’ to deities kept in the mosque’s cellar after the Supreme Court refused to intervene and advised them to approach the high court.

The committee had sought urgent hearing of the matter as ‘puja’ at the cellar that started at wee hours on Thursday.

On Thursday, the top court had asked the committee to approach the high court against the Varanasi District Court’s January 31 order allowing puja at the southern cellar of the disputed structure.

The Varanasi District Court had on Wednesday granted a Hindu priest the right to worship deities in the Gyanvapi mosque’s southern cellar where all religious rites, rituals and practices were stopped in 1993 – months after demolition of Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992.

Varanasi District Judge AK Vishvesha (since retired) had directed the District Magistrate to make arrangements in seven days to facilitate ‘puja’ and ‘raag-bhog’ to be offered to the deities kept in the cellar by priest Shailendra Kumar Pathak.

The court had also directed the District Magistrate to install iron bars around the deities in the cellar to facilitate ‘puja’ by the priest suggested by the Kashi Vishwanath Trust, which manages the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, standing adjacent to the mosque that the Hindu side claimed was constructed after demolishing a pre-existing temple.

Contending that his maternal grandfather—priest Somnath Vyas—used to perform prayers at the cellar till 1993 when it was closed by the government authorities, Pathak had sought the right to worship the deities kept there.

 

#Gyanvapi


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