Officials in UP survey mosque to ‘identity Hindu site’, locals protest

Gyanvapi mosque is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is a Jamia Masjid located in the heart of Varanasi city. [Photo: Wikimedia]

Varanasi: Protests were witnessed in Varanasi Uttar Pradesh as a survey to identify Hindu sites inside a mosque was carried out by the officials.

The survey and videography at Gyanvapi Mosque, which is located next to Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath temple, began on Friday but quickly ran into protests, marking yet another controversy to roil the site of a decades-old religious dispute.

Inspection of the mosque’s outer periphery was carried out after Friday prayers. Heavy force was on the ground during the inspection by a court-appointed commissioner and a team of lawyers.

The inspection was carried out on orders of a local court on a petition filed by five women last year.

The petitioners have sought unrestricted, yearlong access to Maa Shringar Gauri site, located at the back of the mosque’s western wall. The site is currently opened once a year for rituals and prayers.

The petition by the five women has also sought permission to pray to other “visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex”. The local court has directed authorities to conduct inspection and videography of the site and submit a report by May 10.

The caretaker committee of the Gyanvapi mosque and its lawyers have said they are opposed to any videography inside the mosque. The caretakers say the court’s order has not allowed videography inside the mosque, but lawyers on the other side claim they have the court’s go ahead.

In March, the Allahabad High Court dismissed a plea by the mosque’ caretakers, challenging the local court’s order to appoint an advocate as commissioner.


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