Gyanvapi Mosque: Hindu Prayers to Continue in Cellar as Allahabad HC Rejects Plea

Ananya Shroff
3 Min Read

On January 31, the Varanasi court granted permission for Hindu prayers in the southern cellar of Gyanvapi Mosque, known as the ‘Vyas Tehkhana.’ However, the Allahabad High Court has now dismissed the Gyanvapi Mosque committee’s appeal against this decision. Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal of the Allahabad HC pronounced the judgment.

The court, after thoroughly examining the case records and considering arguments from all parties, found no grounds to interfere with the district judge’s decision and the subsequent order allowing Puja in the Tehkhana, as stated by Justice Agarwal during the verdict.

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Advocate Prabhash, expressing satisfaction with the judgment, hailed it as a “big victory of the Sanatana Dharma.” He emphasized that the Puja would continue, with the District Magistrate remaining the Receiver of the ‘Tehkhana.’ He noted that the Muslim side has the option to seek a review of the decision.

Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the Hindu side, clarified that the ongoing Puja in the ‘Vyas Tehkhana’ of the Gyanvapi complex would continue following the court’s decision. He added that if the Anjuman Intezamia approaches the Supreme Court, they would file a caveat before the top court.

The Varanasi court’s decision on January 31 allowed Hindu devotees to offer prayers in the southern cellar of Gyanvapi Mosque, known as the ‘Vyas Tehkhana.’ The court directed the district magistrate to facilitate Puja, with a Pujari nominated by Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust.

Following this, the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee, which manages Gyanvapi Mosque, filed a plea before the Allahabad High Court on February 1, challenging the Varanasi court’s decision. The Supreme Court had declined to urgently hear the mosque committee’s plea.

The mosque, with four ‘tahkhanas’ (cellars) in the basement, remains a subject of dispute. The ‘Vyas Tehkhana’ is currently under the possession of the Vyas family.

The Hindu side claims that the Vyas family conducted religious ceremonies in the basement until 1993. However, they had to discontinue due to a directive from the state government. On the other hand, the mosque committee asserts that the ‘Vyas Tehkhana’ is under their possession as part of the mosque premises.

AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi criticized the Varanasi court’s decision, labeling it a “violation of the Places of Worship Act.” He raised concerns about the timing of the judge’s decision on the last day before retirement and questioned the knowledge about the existence of an idol inside, given that prayers had supposedly ceased since 1993.

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