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Hindu Temple Under Varanasi’s Gyanvapi Mosque? Court Orders Survey

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A petition contended that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb demolished an historic temple and constructed the mosque.

Varanasi:

A court docket in Varanasi has ordered the Archaeological Survey of India to hold out a bodily survey of the city’s Gyanvapi Mosque, positioned subsequent to the well-known Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Reacting to the order, the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board stated it should problem the subordinate court docket’s order within the Allahabad High Court.

The court docket ordered the survey whereas ruling on a three-decade outdated petition, which contended that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had demolished an historic temple of “Lord Vishweshwar” and “constructed a mosque with the help of the ruins of the said temple”.

In its order, the court docket requested the Director General of the ASI to “constitute a five-member committee of eminent persons who are experts and well-versed in the science of archaeology, two out of which should preferably belong to the minority community”.

The court docket additionally requested the ASI Chief to nominate an eminent individual — a scholar or a longtime academician — as an observer for the committee.

In its order, the court docket stated, “The prime purpose of the Archaeological Survey shall be to find out whether the religious structure standing at present at the ‘disputed site’ is a superimposition, alteration or addition or there is a structural overlapping of any kind, with or over, any other religious structure”.

The committee, the court docket added, “shall also trace whether any temple belonging to the Hindu community ever existed before the mosque in question was built or superimposed or added upon it at the ‘disputed’ site'”.

Reacting to the Varanasi court docket order, UP Sunni Central Waqf Board in an announcement stated it should method the Allahabad High Court. “Our understanding is clear that this case is barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The Places of Worship Act was upheld by a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya judgment,” Sunni Central Waqf Board chairman Zufar Ahmad Farooqui stated.

“The status of Gyanvapi Masjid is, as such, beyond question,” he asserted.

“Even otherwise, we can say as per legal advice that the order of survey is questionable because technical evidence can only supplement certain foundational facts. No evidence has been produced before the court that suggests that there was a prior existing temple at the site of the mosque,” he added.

The authentic petition within the case was filed in 1991 however a clutch of Varanasi residents contended the mosque was constructed over an historic temple in 1664 by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

R Shamshad, a member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, stated the lawsuit is non-maintainable and must be dismissed in view of a legislation made in 1991.

“A petition was filed seeking dismissal of this suit on which the district court has passed an order. Now the whole issue is pending in the Allahabad High Court on whether the suit can be heard or not. In this background, when the issue is pending in the Allahabad high court, I do not think there is any justification in such an order. Such an order should not have been passed at this stage,” he added.

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