SC to hear Muslim’s plea against Hindu prayers at southern cellar of Gyanvapi

SC to hear Muslim’s plea against Hindu prayers at southern cellar of Gyanvapi

New Delhi: The Supreme Court is slated to hear, on Monday, a plea filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee against the decision of the Allahabad High Court upholding a Varanasi court’s order allowing Hindu parties to perform puja in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi Mosque.

As per the causelist published on the website of the apex court, a bench headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud will hear the special leave petition filed by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages Gyanvapi mosque, on April 1.

The Allahabad High Court on February 26 rejected the plea filed by the Muslim side against the district court order permitting the conduct of Hindu prayers in the southern cellar or basement of the Gyanvapi Mosque.

A bench of Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal of the Allahabad High Court gave the decision amid an ongoing civil court case involving conflicting claims over the religious character of the Gyanvapi compound.

Among other claims, the Hindu side has said that Hindu prayers were earlier offered by the family of Somnath Vyas in the mosque’s cellar until 1993 when the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led government allegedly stopped it.

The Muslim side has opposed this claim and maintained that Muslims have always had possession over the mosque’s building.

The main dispute over the Gyanvapi compound involves a claim by the Hindu side that a section of an ancient temple on the said land was destroyed during the rule of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century.

The Muslim side has maintained that the mosque predated Aurangzeb’s reign and that it had endured various alterations over time.

Following the Varanasi district court’s order on January 31 which allowed priests to perform prayers before the idols in the southern cellar of Gyanvapi, religious ceremonies were performed on the mosque’s premises at midnight on February 1.

Later, the southern cellar was opened to devotees.

The Varanasi District Judge had directed the district administration to make appropriate arrangements within 7 days for Hindus to conduct worship rituals inside one of the sealed cellars (‘Vyas ji ka tehkhana’) inside the existing Gyanvapi mosque complex.

On February 13, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also visited the Gyanvapi premises and worshipped at the ‘Vyas ji ka tekhana’.