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Amid 'Shivalinga' row, Allahabad HC defers hearing on earlier plea on Gyanvapi to May 20

As the hearing resumed on Monday, on a bunch of half a dozen petitions related to Gyanvapi dispute, the counsel representing the parties put their submissions before the single judge bench of court.

Published: 16th May 2022 11:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2022 11:34 PM   |  A+A-

Security personnel stand guard as officials move towards Gyanvapi Masjid complex, to resume a videographic survey, in Varanasi. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: Amid the survey of Gaynvapi mosque premises in compliance of a Varanasi court order, the Allahabad High Court, on Monday, adjourned the hearing of Varanasi’s Kashi-Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque case till May 20, 2022.

As the hearing resumed on Monday, on a bunch of half a dozen petitions related to Gyanvapi dispute, the counsel representing the parties put their submissions before the single judge bench of court.

Hearing a petition filed by Anjuman Intezamia Masajid of Varanasi and other related petitions, Justice Prakash Padia pohe case for May 20 for next hearing.

While adjourning the case, the judge observed that the arguments could not be completed due to paucity of time. 

“Put up this matter in the additional cause list on May 20 at 12 noon,” he said.

As the court-mandated videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, which was carried out for the third consecutive day, concluded on Monday amid tight security, plaintiff’s lawyer claimed that a Shivlinga was found inside the pond used by Muslim devotees for ‘wuzu’ (purification ritual before offering Namaz).

The survey of the mosque complex, which started at 8 am, concluded peacefully at around 10:15 am, covering the entire mosque complex. The survey report would be submitted in court on Tuesday, May 17.

Upon the conclusion of the survey, the court of Varanasi Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar ordered the district administration, police commissioner and CRPF commandant, engaged in the security of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham and Gyanvapi complex, to seal the area of the ‘wuzu’ pond on the mosque premises where the lawyer of one of the plaintiffs on Monday claimed unearthing of a Shivlinga during the survey.

The judge also ordered the district administration and law enforcement agencies to restrict the entry of people into that sealed part of the mosque premises. However, the court passed the order after lawyer Harishankar Jain, representing Rakhi Singh in the related petition no. 693/2021 Rakhi Singh Vs UP government and others, left the mosque premises even while the survey was on and moved an application.

The lawyer stated in the application that during the survey by the court commission on Monday, a Shivlinga was found. “As it is very important evidence, in this case, the area should be sealed immediately for its safety,” stated Jain, demanding a ban on the entry of Muslims in this area besides allowing not more than 20 persons to offer namaz at a given time.

However, the court gave no directive on the number of devotees to be allowed on the premises at a given time. The court also clarified the state chief secretary and director general of police responsible for the supervision of the sealing process and the work done by the district magistrate, commissioner of police and CRPF for the execution of the order.

The court said that the safety and conservation of the area would be the personal responsibility of the DM, CP and CRPF commandant. 

On the contrary, the Muslim side argued that the court ordered to seal the wuzu pond without hearing it.  Rejecting the theory of Shivlinga given by the Hindu side, the Muslim side claimed that it was not a Shivlinga but a defunct fountain inside the pond. 

“The other side is misguiding the nation by calling a defunct fountain a Shivlinga,” said Raees Ahmad Ansari, the lawyer of Anjuman Intenzamia Masajid (AIM).

Even Abhay Nath Yadav, representing the Muslim side in the case, said that everyone should wait for the submission of the survey report and subsequent court verdict without jumping to conclusions. “The report to be submitted in the court will make everything clear,” he said.

In the meantime, while the security inside the corridor area and the mosque premises was enhanced and the area defined by the court was sealed in compliance with its order, Varanasi DM Kushal Raj Sharma and court-appointed Advocate General Ajay Kumar Mishra neither confirmed nor denied the presence of Shivlinga on the mosque premises saying it might be someone’s personal claim as everything about the 12.5-hour survey would be mentioned in the report and submitted to the court on May 17.

Regarding the court order, the DM said that after receiving the order, the process for isolating the ‘wuzu’ pond area of Gyanvapi mosque was sealed and alternative arrangements for ‘wuzu’ were being made to ensure that Muslims did not face any problems in offering namaz. 

Other lawyers accompanying the court commission during the survey termed it a “historic day” saying that the evidence collected by the court commission, in this case, would play a key role in all cases related to Gyanvapi in different courts.



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