Varanasi Court Receives Petition from Anjuman Islamia Masjid Committee in Response to Gyanvapi Mosque Dispute

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The ongoing Gyanvapi Masjid dispute in Varanasi has taken another turn as the Anjuman Islamia Masjid Committee, a party involved in the case, submitted a petition before a Varanasi court. This comes as a response to a plea filed by the Hindu side, which demanded an inspection of the disputed mosque site by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). In their application, the Muslim side vehemently denied that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was cruel or responsible for the demolition of the Adi Vishveshwara temple in Varanasi in 1669. They further stated that the concept of having two Kashi Vishwanath temples, old and new, did not exist historically.

The application also emphasized that the Gyanvapi mosque structure has been in existence for thousands of years and remains a masjid. The Muslim side objected to the petition seeking an ASI survey of the entire Gyanvapi mosque complex, expressing their opposition before the Varanasi district court. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), in response to these claims, stated that the majority would not accept these arguments, except for a few individuals. VHP’s national spokesperson questioned the Muslim side’s reluctance to conduct the survey if they truly believed in Aurangzeb. In related developments, the Allahabad High Court is scheduled to hear the matter regarding the ASI survey at the Gyanvapi mosque site on May 26.

The dispute has seen previous legal actions, such as a petition filed by five women in August 2021 seeking the right to worship at the Shringar Gauri site within the Gyanvapi mosque premises. Additionally, a senior division court had ordered a survey of the mosque premises in April 2022, during which a Shivling was allegedly discovered, leading to differing interpretations by the Muslim side claiming it to be a fountain. Recently, the Supreme Court instructed the ASI to refrain from carbon dating the Shivling inside the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath corridor until the next hearing on the matter. The dispute over the Gyanvapi mosque continues to be a contentious issue awaiting resolution through legal proceedings.

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