Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi dispute case(s)| In underground place below mosque, Hindu rituals were continued: Arguments before Allahabad High Court

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Before the Allahabad High Court today, counsel for the parties seeking restoration of the land in question in the case(s) related to the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute to Hindus, alleged that even after the demolition of the first floor of the ancient temple, 'aarti' and other Hindu worshipping rituals were continued. 

The hearing in the matter is going on before the bench of Justice Prakash Padia. In support of his argumentAdvocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi also placed on record photographs of the alleged underground place (Tehkhana).

He argued that the religious nature of the land in question was never changed as the property in question, i.e. the temple of Lord Visheshwar has been in existence from ancient time, i.e., Satyug up till now and the Swayambhu Lord Visheshwar is situated in the disputed structure.

Referring to the documents on record, he said that during the rule of the Mughal dynasty, only first floor of the ancient temple was demolished, however, “Maa Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesh and other subsidiary deities” continued to exist within the ancient temple, which is claimed by Muslims to be part of the “Gyanvapi Mosque”.

Besides Rastogi's claims, arguments that the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 provides that the religious nature of a place as it was on August 15, 1947, is to be maintained and hence it can't be challenged were also placed.  

Background of the matter

Before the Varanasi local court, the Ancient Idol of Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar and 5 others had filed a suit in 1991 seeking removal of the Gyanvapi Mosque and restoration of the land to Hindus.

Notably, the proceedings in this suit before the Varanasi local court have already been stayed by the high court. The lower court order whereby the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was directed to conduct a survey of the Mosque complex has also been stayed.

The same bench had held in September 2021 that the court below should wait for the verdict in the petitions pending before the High Court and not proceed further in the matter till the time a judgment is delivered.

Case Title: Anjuman Intezamiya Masajid Varanasi v. Ancient Idol Of Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar And 5 Others and connected matters