In an attempt to obtain the right to worship inside the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, five Hindu women filed a lawsuit.
Lucknow: Whether the court should continue hearing a case filed by five Hindu women seeking the right to worship inside the city’s Gyanvapi mosque, which is situated next to the well-known Kashi Viswanath temple, is expected to be decided by Varanasi’s senior-most judge today.
Here are ten interesting facts about this big story.
- District judge AK Vishvesha will likely decide whether to continue hearing the women’s case, which resulted in a survey inside the Gyanvapi mosque, or to dismiss it.
- In May, the Supreme Court transferred the case from a lower court to the Varanasi district judge’s court, where it had been heard until then.
- “Keeping the complexity and sensitivity of the matter in mind,” the Supreme Court said, “the civil suit before the civil judge in Varanasi shall be heard before a senior and experienced judicial officer of the UP judicial service.”
- The Varanasi civil court had ordered the filming of the Gyanvapi mosque a month before the Supreme Court’s intervention in the case, based on a petition by Hindu women who claim there are idols of Hindu Gods and goddesses in the Gyanvapi mosque complex.
- A report on the filming at the mosque was then sealed and delivered to the Varanasi court, but the Hindu petitioners controversially released details just hours later.
- According to the report, a “Shivling” was discovered in a pond within the mosque complex that was used for “Wazoo,” or purification rituals before Muslim prayers. The judge hearing the case at the time ordered the pond to be sealed.
- The Gyanvapi mosque committee filed a Supreme Court petition to stop the filming inside the centuries-old mosque.
- According to the petitioners, the filming violates the Places of Worship Act of 1991, which preserves the religious status of any place of worship as of August 15, 1947.
- “Such petitions and mosque sealings will cause public mischief and communal disharmony, affecting mosques across the country,” the mosque committee argued.
- The mosque committee made similar arguments in front of the Varanasi district judge’s court, while lawyers for the Hindu petitioners argued that the law does not preclude their case and that they could prove in court that the mosque premises were actually a temple on the day of independence.