No Gyanvapi parikrama for shankaracharya
The Jyotishpeeth shankaracharya was stopped from marching to Gyanvapi Masjid and asked to seek permission by the police
The Varanasi district administration stopped Jyotishpeeth shankaracharya Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati's bid to march to the Gyanvapi mosque complex on Monday evening, 29 January, to perform a parikrama (circumambulation) of what he terms the 'original Vishwanath', the local police said.
Senior police and administrative officers said the seer had not taken permission and could not be allowed to perform circumambulation of the complex.
The shankaracharya has filed a petition seeking regular worshipping rights after claims that a 'shivling' was purportedly found in the wuzukhana (ablution pond area) during a court-mandated survey in May 2022.
Bhelupur assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Atul Anjan Tripathi and Dashaswamedh ACP Awadhesh Pandey said that the seer will have to seek permission from the district administration and the police if he wants to perform a circumambulation.
In view of the seer's call, a heavy deployment of police forces was ensured at Shri Vidya Mutt in Kedarghat area on Monday.
When the seer and his disciples tried to come out on the streets in a procession, the police stopped them, leading to a heated argument between the seer and the ACPs.
Finally, the seer was pacified; he decided to seek permission and went back.
The shankaracharya claimed he had been visiting Gyanvapi for 40 years for the same circumambulation, as Hindu priests are not allowed to offer prayers inside Gyanvapi.
"I have been doing the parikrama for years. After becoming shankaracharya, it was the first time I was going for circumambulation. Restrictions could be imposed on entering the fenced area, but parikrama from outside should be allowed," he said.
He also said the (purported) shivling found in the wuzukhana is Lord Adi Visheshwara, who cannot be left without daily worship.
In his suit, he sought regular worship of the purported shivling on the grounds that it is the right of the deity to be worshipped every day.
His petition has been filed before the court of the civil judge (senior division). In April 2023, it was transferred to the court of the district judge and clubbed with six other Gyanvapi-related cases.