VARANASI/NEW DELHI: A civil court in Varanasi on Monday decreed that entry of Muslims would be barred from a site inside Gyanvapi mosque complex while citing the discovery of a 12 x 8 feet Shivling — a representation of Hindu Lord Shiva — three days after a four-member survey team was formed to video-graph the inspection of the complex.
The Varanasi court ordered the district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma “to seal the area”. Heavy police force was deployed at the site at the time of filing this story with commissioner Satish Ganesh leading the police convoy.
“This is a significant evidence that on May 16, a shivling has been found by the commission. We immediately order CRPF to seal this site. The court instructs Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to immediately ban the entry of Muslims here. At most, only 20 Muslims be allowed for prayers in a day in the neighbouring mosque. Aur Unhe vajoo karne se bhi tatkaal roka jaaye (They be stopped from conducting ablutions inside this complex),” a civil court judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar wrote in his order.
An original petition by a group of Hindu women had sought unfiltered access to pray inside the mosque complex at the site of its western wall, 100 metres away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Till now, the site was thrown open for prayers by Hindus only once a year.
The order came on a day when Supreme Court bench led by D Y Chandrachud was to hear the petition by the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee which had sought to stop the survey inside the mosque.
Varanasi civil court had appointed advocate commissioner Ajai Kumar Mishra , special advocate commissioner Vishal Singh, assistant advocate commissioner Ajai Pratap Singh apart from advocates of the Hindu and Muslim sides and a cameraman to complete the survey on May 12 even as the process had begun in April.
Hindu party advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain told The New Indian that the court order is a victory based on joint inspection by both Hindus and Muslims and must be respected.
“Everything was filmed from beginning to end. The Shivling discovery inside a well is on camera. The court has taken this as an evidence. Now, Section 3 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, will have to be followed. Which means that prayers acording to Hindu rites were conducted, the will have to be followedm” said Jain.
Uttar Pradesh Police has pressed additional deployment of police from neighbouring districts for a strict vigil across Lucknow and Varanasi.
The order also coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi dinner meet at official residence of UP CM Yogi Adityanath at 5, Kali Das Marg.
Do visit www.newindian.in for exclusive video stories from hinterlands of India.