Gyanvapi management moves HC against Varanasi court allowing 'puja' in mosque's basement

The Varanasi court ruled on Wednesday that a Hindu priest can perform prayers before the idols in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque

Mosque committee quickly approached Allahabad HC after Supreme Court rejected plea against Varanasi court order, directing them to do so. (photo: IANS)
Mosque committee quickly approached Allahabad HC after Supreme Court rejected plea against Varanasi court order, directing them to do so. (photo: IANS)
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PTI

The Gyanvapi management committee moved the Allahabad High Court on Thursday challenging a Varanasi court order that has allowed Hindu prayers before idols in a cellar of the mosque.

The counsel for the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, S F A Naqvi, said they have requested an urgent hearing in the matter.

The mosque committee moved the high court within hours of the Supreme Court refusing to hear its plea against the Varanasi district court's order and asking it to approach the Allahabad High Court.

In the appeal filed before the high court, it has been pleaded that the Hindu side's suit itself is barred by order 7 rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, Naqvi said.

The plea has also alleged that the main purpose behind filing the suit was to create a controversy over the functional Gyanvapi mosque where regular namaz is offered.

A caveat was also filed by the Hindu side regarding the matter.

The Varanasi court ruled on Wednesday that a Hindu priest can perform prayers before the idols in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque.

The prayers will be conducted by a "pujari" nominated by the Kashi Vishwanath temple trust.

Shailendra Kumar Pathak, who had petitioned the Varanasi district court seeking the right to worship there, had claimed that his grandfather, Somnath Vyas, offered "puja" there up to December 1993, when it was stopped by the administration.

The Hindu side's lawyer, Madan Mohan Yadav, has said the "puja" stopped there during the tenure of then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav after the Babri masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

Prayers were offered before the idols in the cellar on Wednesday night following the Varanasi court order, Kashi Vishwanath temple trust president Nagendra Pandey said.

"Vyasji's cellar was opened for prayers after 31 years," Pandey told PTI in Varanasi.

He said the southern cellar was opened at around 10.30 pm on Wednesday.

Asked if prayers were offered in the basement, he said, "Yes."

"It was necessary to follow the court's orders, so the district administration had made all the arrangements with great promptness," Pandey added.

District Magistrate S Rajlingam said, "I have complied with the court's order."

Some locals claimed that after cleaning the cellar, an "aarti" was performed before the idols of Lakshmi and Ganesh.

"Now, regular puja will be performed in the cellar," Pandey said.

Like in the Kashi Vishwanath temple, where "puja" is performed five times a day, the same will be done in Vyasji ka tahkhana, and "raag-bhog" and "aarti" of the deities will be performed, he added.

"A team of priests from the Kashi Vishwanath temple will be deputed to conduct the puja in the cellar. The priests will perform the puja in accordance with their duty scheduled by the Kashi Vishwanath temple nyas (trust)," Pandey said.

He said when the Kashi Vishwanath corridor was being built, the members of the Vyas family had handed over the right to perform the "puja" to the temple trust in accordance with an agreement.

Hence, the right to perform the "puja" resides with the trust, Pandey said.

Meanwhile, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee has appealed to Muslims to keep their shops and businesses closed on Friday and offer special "Juma" prayers.


In an appeal issued on Thursday evening, general secretary of the organisation Abdul Batin Nomani said, "Based on the decision of the Varanasi district judge, worship has started in the southern basement (Vyas cellar) of the Gyanvapi mosque. In view of this situation, various Muslim organisations have issued an appeal. Under this, on February 2, Muslims should peacefully keep their businesses and shops closed and offer special prayers."

In the appeal, Muslims across the country have been requested to make arrangements for special prayers in their respective cities and areas.

During this period, complete peace and order should be maintained, the appeal said, adding that a Muslim should go to the same mosque where he usually goes to pray and offer Friday namaz.

Muslim women have been asked to pray at home and an appeal has also been made to organise wedding ceremonies and other events with simplicity.

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Published: 02 Feb 2024, 9:24 AM
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