Indian petitioners win big in Varanasi court – Flying Journals

In May, the Supreme Court assigned the case to the Varanasi District Court

The court today agreed to hear from a group of Hindu women who want to pray for a year at the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, which is adjacent to the famous Kashgar Vishwana Temple. The women’s petition will be heard on September 22.

Here are 10 facts about the big story

  1. The five women want permission to perform year-long pujas and ceremonies in one part of the mosque complex and claim that other parts of the mosque complex have idols of Hindu gods and goddesses. Muslim petitioners had urged the court to dismiss the petition.

  2. Earlier this year, a lower court ordered filming of the centuries-old mosque based on the women’s petition.

  3. Reports of the shooting were submitted in sealed form to a Varanasi court, but the details were controversially leaked by Hindu petitioners hours later.

  4. The report said a ‘Shivling’ or relic of Lord Shiva was found in a pond within the mosque complex, used in a ‘Wazoo’ or purification ritual before Muslims pray.

  5. A court then banned large namaz gatherings at the high-profile mosque. The court said gatherings should be limited to 20 people.

  6. The Gyanvapi Mosque Committee challenged the filming inside the mosque in the Supreme Court, saying it violated the 1991 law (Places of Worship Act), which has maintained the religious status of places of worship since August 15, 1947.

  7. The Muslim petitioners argue that “such petitions and blockades of mosques will lead to public mischief and community discord that will affect mosques across the country.”

  8. In May, the Supreme Court assigned the case to the city’s highest-ranking judge, citing the “complexity and sensitivity” of the dispute.

  9. Located in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency (Varanasi), the Gyanvapi Mosque is one of several mosques believed by Hindu hardliners to be built on the ruins of a temple.

  10. Hindu petitioners say they will seek carbon dating and proper archaeological surveys to identify a temple standing on the land.

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