VARANASI: A view of the Gyanvapi Mosque.—Reuters
VARANASI: A view of the Gyanvapi Mosque.—Reuters

NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court waded into yet another politically fraught temple-mosque dispute on Tuesday as it ordered the protection of a Hindu religious relic allegedly found inside the mediaeval Gyanvapi mosque abutting a major temple in Varanasi.

The court asked for the protection of the shivling. It also allowed regular namaz to be conducted, restraining a move to stop it. The court will resume the hearing on Thursday.

Reports said the Supreme Court asked exactly where the shivling was found. The question to the administration came during the hearing of a petition by the mosque committee.

“We haven’t seen the report,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Uttar Pradesh government, replied and sought time till Wednesday to return with details.

Mr Mehta said the place where the shivling was allegedly found was sealed to avoid any law and order issues in case someone who came to offer namaz touched it with their feet. The shivling was said to be found in the mosque’s pond where the wazoo is performed, he said.

The court then told the Varanasi district magistrate to ensure that if the shivling was indeed found, the area should be protected, but without impeding Muslims from coming to the mosque for namaz.

During the hearing on Tuesday, petitioners questioned how the city court ordered the place to be sealed when the report of the committee, which surveyed the complex, has not been submitted yet.

“How did the court proceed based on the submission of the other party and seal the place? Look at the way the orders are passed,” the petitioners told the Supreme Court.

The Gyanvapi mosque, built in the time of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, stands next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple. Five women petitioners have asked the court to allow daily prayers before alleged idols on its outer walls as well as other “visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex”. The site is currently open for Hindu prayers once a year.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Skyrocketing prices
Updated 03 Jul, 2022

Skyrocketing prices

Some sellers are seeking to take advantage of the prevailing disorder by creating artificial shortages or jacking up prices.
Flooding alert
03 Jul, 2022

Flooding alert

THE Gilgit-Baltistan government has issued an alert about the possible flooding of areas along river banks and...
Assaulting journalists
03 Jul, 2022

Assaulting journalists

ANOTHER day, another citizen roughed up for speaking his mind. The assault on veteran journalist Ayaz Amir by...
Uncertainty remains in Punjab
Updated 02 Jul, 2022

Uncertainty remains in Punjab

With the latest verdict, the judiciary seems to have unintentionally entered the political arena, which is not desirable.
Turbulence in tech
02 Jul, 2022

Turbulence in tech

THE party seems to have cooled considerably for the Pakistani start-up scene. With some of the world’s biggest...
Environmental cost
02 Jul, 2022

Environmental cost

THE collective impact of climate-disaster-health hazards are already taking a huge toll on Pakistan’s fragile...