The Gyanvapi management committee has taken legal action by approaching the Allahabad High Court to challenge a Varanasi court’s decision permitting Hindu prayers in the basement of the mosque. The move followed the Varanasi district court’s ruling allowing a priest to perform prayers before idols in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi Masjid.
Anjuman Intezamia Masjid counsel, SFA Naqvi, confirmed that an urgent hearing has been requested in the matter. The Gyanvapi mosque committee’s swift appeal to the high court occurred shortly after the Supreme Court declined to hear their plea against the Varanasi district court’s order, directing them to approach the high court.
In the appeal filed before the high court, it is argued that the Hindu side’s suit itself is barred by Order 7 Rules 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, according to Naqvi.
The plea also contended that the primary objective of filing the suit was an attempt to create controversy over the functioning Gyanvapi mosque, where regular namaz (prayer) is offered. A caveat has been filed from the Hindu side regarding the matter.
The Varanasi court’s decision on Wednesday allowed a priest nominated by the Kashi Vishwanath temple trust to perform prayers before the idols in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi Masjid.
Shailendra Kumar Pathak, the petitioner in the Varanasi district court, claimed the right to worship in the cellar, stating that his grandfather, Somnath Vyas, performed puja there until December 1993, when it was stopped by the administration.
Madan Mohan Yadav, lawyer for the Hindu side, mentioned that puja ceased during the tenure of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav after the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
In response to the Varanasi court order, prayers were conducted before idols in the cellar on Wednesday night, as confirmed by Kashi Vishwanath temple trust president Nagendra Pandey. He stated, “Vyas ji’s cellar was opened after 31 years for prayers.”
District Magistrate S Rajlingam emphasised that he complied with the court’s order. Locals reported that after cleaning the cellar, an ‘aarti’ (religious ritual) was offered to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha.
Nagendra Pandey outlined plans for regular puja in the cellar, comparing it to the Kashi Vishwanath temple’s daily schedule. A team of priests from the Kashi Vishwanath temple trust will be assigned to conduct puja, adhering to their duty schedule.
Pandey clarified that during the construction of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple corridor, the Vyas family handed over the right to perform puja to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust through an agreement. Consequently, the right to perform puja resides with the trust.