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Tue. Oct 4th, 2022
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NEW DELHI: The Hindu side’s plea to worship within the premises of Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque is maintainable, the Varanasi district court ruled today.
This means hearing can continue on the plea filed by five Hindu women seeking permission to worship idols of deities on the outer wall of the mosque.

The legal battle over the over Hindus’ right to worship within the Gyanvapi mosque premises has dragged on for decades. In 1991 three local residents moved court seeking permission to worship in the area of the Gyanvapi mosque contending it was the original site of the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

The matter over which the court passed its verdict today, however, is just over a year old- in court since April 2021. Since then, this is how the story has unfolded:

  1. Five women- four from Varanasi and one from Delhi- filed a petition in April 2021seeking permission for daily worship of ‘Shringar Gauri’ idols on an outer wall of the Gyanvapi mosque.
  2. The Muslim side said the plea is not maintainable, as Places of Worship Act 1991 prohibits changing the character of a place of worship from what it was on August 15, 1947.
  3. Hindus claimed the mosque was constructed after demolishing a temple to Lord Shiva during the reign of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb; Muslims said it was constructed on Waqf land
  4. The Varanasi civil court ordered a videography survey of the mosque complex following claims that there were idols of Hindu gods and goddesses in the mosque complex
  5. Archaeological Survey of India completed the survey work on May 16 and submitted report to the court on May 19. However a part of the report got leaked to the media.
  6. The Hindu side claimed that a ‘Shivling’ was found inside a well during the survey that bolstered their ‘temple destroyed to build mosque’ claim. Some contended that priests had hidden the original Shivling in the well to save it from temple destroyers.
  7. The Muslim side contested the ‘Shivling’ was rally part of a fountain at the ‘wuzukhana,’ or place for ablution
  8. SC ordered the area sealed and asked Muslims to perform ablution before namaz at a different place
  9. SC transferred suit filed by Hindus from a civil judge to a Varanasi district judge. It said, “Keeping the complexity and sensitivity of the matter in view, the civil suit before the civil judge in Varanasi shall be heard before a senior and experienced judicial officer.”
  10. A group of Hindu women moved SC demanding carbon dating of the ‘Shivling’ to ascertain its age

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