Highlights

  • Varanasi court allows Hindus to pray inside Gyanvapi mosque
  • Prayers will be conducted in Gyanvapi basement that was sealed
  • Court orders arrangements to be made within 7 days

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Varanasi court allows Hindus to pray inside Gyanvapi mosque

Hindus have been allowed to pray inside a sealed basement of the Gyanvapi mosque by a Varanasi court

Varanasi court allows Hindus to pray inside Gyanvapi mosque

The Varanasi district court on Wednesday granted the family of a late priest the right to worship Hindu deities in the Gyanvapi mosque cellar, Hindu side counsel Madan Mohan Yadav said.

The order was passed by judge A K Vishvesh who directed the district magistrate to make arrangements within seven days to facilitate puja there, Yadav said, adding the prayers will be facilitated by the Kashi Vishwanath Trust.

According to the petition, priest Somnath Vyas used to perform prayers there till 1993 when the cellar was closed by the authorities.

Shailendra Kumar Pathak, maternal grandson of Somnath Vyas, had sought the right to worship the deities there.

He said the barricades before the Nandi statue in front of the 'wazu khana' -- where where ablutions are performed before offering namaz -- in the mosque complex will be removed to make way for the petitioner to perform puja.

The Hindu side counsel said the puja of deities there was stopped during the rule of chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The Muslim side has argued that the cellar is part of the mosque complex, and hence permission to perform puja there should not be granted.

The Varanasi district court had on July 21 last year directed the ASI to conduct a "detailed scientific survey" -- including excavations, wherever necessary -- to determine if the mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple was built on the remains of a temple.

According to the Hindu side, the report of the scientific survey suggests the mosque was built on the remains of a pre-existing temple.

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