VARANASI: In a significant turn of events, the first puja was performed at Varanasi’s disputed Gyanvapi mosque’s ‘Vyas Parivar Tehkhana’ on Thursday, marking a crucial moment in the ongoing legal battle. Following the Varanasi district court’s ruling, which allowed the Hindu side to offer prayers at the contested site, the atmosphere was charged with both celebration and anticipation. A priest conducted the pooja around 3 am, followed by an aarti.
Before the commencement of the puja ceremony, a pivotal meeting was convened by Varanasi’s District Magistrate, S Rajalingam, and Commissioner of Police, Ashok Mutha Jain. The gathering, which lasted for approximately two hours, took place at a hall situated within the Kashi Vishwanath Dham premises. During the deliberations, crucial decisions were made by the district administration to ensure the seamless implementation of the court’s verdict.
Legal Victory For Hindus
Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the Hindu faction, expressed satisfaction, informed, “In compliance with the Varanasi court’s order, the State government and district administration have made amendments to the barricading, and daily puja has commenced in ‘Vyas Parivar Tehkhana’.” The Varanasi court’s ruling is being seen as a significant win for the Hindu community, reaffirming their right to worship at the revered site.
#WATCH | On the Gyanvapi case, Vishnu Shankar Jain, lawyer of the Hindu side says,” In compliance of the order of Varanasi court, the State govt and district administration has made amendments to the barricading and daily puja has started in ‘Vyas parivar Tehkhana’.” pic.twitter.com/HMbWcBOGfl
— ANI (@ANI) February 1, 2024
Vyas Family Legacy Restored
The court’s decision stemmed from a petition filed by Shailendra Kumar Pathak Vyas, seeking redress against the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee’s control over the mosque. As the maternal grandson of priest Somnath Vyas, Shailendra’s plea carried the weight of familial legacy and tradition. The lawsuit underscored the historical significance of the site, where prayers were halted in 1993 following the closure of the cellar by authorities.
“The Hindu side is allowed to offer prayers at ‘Vyas Ka Tehkhana’, with the district administration tasked to facilitate arrangements within seven days,” affirmed Jain. This directive ensured the unhindered access of Hindu worshippers to the sacred space, honouring the spiritual heritage of the Vyas family.
Legal Tussle And Challenges
However, the legal saga is far from over, with challenges looming on the horizon. Akhlaque Ahmad, counsel for the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, has announced plans to contest the court’s decision in higher judicial forums, signalling a protracted legal battle ahead.
Simultaneously, the Allahabad High Court’s intervention has added another layer of complexity to the dispute. A plea challenging the Varanasi court’s refusal to order a survey of the ‘wazukhana’ area within the mosque complex has been brought forth. The petition, filed by Rakhi Singh, underscores the need to ascertain the religious character of the property, emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive survey.
High Court Notice: Dispute Over ‘Wazukhana’ Area Deepens
As the legal tussle intensifies, the Allahabad High Court has stepped in into the fray, issuing a notice to the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee. The plea, challenging the Varanasi court’s decision, has shed light on the intricacies of the dispute, underscoring the complexities surrounding the religious identity of the contested property.