September 27, 2022

A court docket in India’s northern city of Varanasi has rejected a Muslim organisation’s plea difficult a request by some Hindu worshippers to carry day by day prayers at a Seventeenth-century mosque.

A gaggle of Hindu girls had moved the court docket earlier this yr, in search of its permission to hope at a shrine contained in the Gyanvapi Mosque.

The mosque believed to be constructed through the Mughal rule is adjoining to Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath temple within the northern Uttar Pradesh state.

Rejecting the plea filed by Anjuman Intezamia Committee, the Muslim physique that had challenged the ladies’s petition, the court docket stated the request by the ladies was “maintainable”.

“The plaintiffs are solely demanding proper to worship… The fits of the plaintiffs is proscribed and confined to proper of worship as a civil proper and elementary proper in addition to customary and spiritual proper,” the court docket stated.

Gyanvapi Mosque
A employee stands on a temple rooftop adjoining to the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi [File: Pawan Kumar/Reuters]

The following listening to within the case can be held on September 22.

The Muslim physique had argued the 1991 Locations of Worship Act upholds the standing of all spiritual buildings as they stood on India’s independence from British rule on August 15, 1947, thus defending the established order of non secular buildings.

Hindu teams declare the mosque was inbuilt 1669 on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after the demolition of a Hindu temple on the web site. The petitioners say the complicated nonetheless homes Hindu idols and motifs, a declare that has been contested by the mosque’s authorities.

Syed Muhammad Yaseen, a consultant of the mosque’s administration committee, stated Muslims had been praying within the mosque for hundreds of years. He stated the committee will problem the Varanasi court docket’s order in the next court docket in Allahabad metropolis, renamed to Prayagraj in 2019.

“We observe the authorized course of and now we’re pondering to maneuver to Allahabad Excessive Court docket. We’ll proceed the authorized battle,” he informed Al Jazeera.

Studies earlier this yr claimed a court-mandated survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque – leaked to the media – found a “shivalinga”, a phallic illustration of the Hindu god Shiva, contained in the mosque.

Muslims had already been banned from performing ablutions within the water tank the place the alleged relic was discovered. The mosque’s committee stated the alleged stone shaft discovered within the reservoir was the bottom of a fountain.

‘Regarding growth’

The authorized battle is the newest occasion of a rising phenomenon during which right-wing Hindu teams petition courts demanding Muslim spiritual buildings they declare to belong to Hindus.

The worry now could be that the Gyanvapi Mosque will go the best way of one other Mughal-era mosque, the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, which Hindu teams consider was constructed on the birthplace of their deity Ram.

The demolition of the Babri Mosque by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked spiritual riots during which greater than 2,000 folks died, most of them Muslims.

Critics say such circumstances result in fears over the standing of non secular locations for India’s Muslims, a minority group of 200 million folks that has come beneath assault lately by Hindu nationalists who search to show formally secular India into an ethnic Hindu nation.

Varanasi can also be the parliamentary seat of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A latest “draft structure” launched by right-wing Hindu teams final month proposed Varanasi because the capital of the “Hindu nation”.

Khalid Rasheed, the chairman of the Islamic Centre of India, an organisation that works for the rights of Indian Muslims, informed Al Jazeera that the Varanasi court docket entertaining the petition filed by 5 Hindu girls raises many questions.

“The large query is that within the remaining judgement of the Ayodhya challenge, the Supreme Court docket very clearly talked about that the Locations of Worship Act, 1991 will proceed. It raised hopes that no points associated to the mosque-temple disputes can be raised,” he stated.

“However in the present day the court docket has admitted the petition and rejected the grounds of the regulation, saying it won’t apply on this case. It’s a regarding growth.

“We noticed what the scenario was through the Babri Mosque challenge. We predict no such points ought to be raised and no matter was the standing of anyplace of worship ought to be maintained.”

Mosque-temple dispute in Badaun

In the meantime, one other court docket in Uttar Pradesh has stated it should hear a petition filed by right-wing Hindu organisations, claiming an present Jama Masjid Shamsi in Badaun metropolis was constructed after demolishing a Hindu temple.

Akhil Bharat Hindu MahaSabha, a far-right Hindu group, together with some native residents final month filed the petition, claiming the mosque was constructed after razing the temple of Lord Neelkanth Mahadev.

The Badaun court docket fastened September 15 for listening to and issued notices to the mosque administration, Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board, the state authorities and the union authorities.

Chatting with Anadolu Company, the lawyer for Jama Masjid, Asrar Ahmad Siddiqui, stated: “There is no such thing as a proof out there that it was a temple and the mosque was constructed after destroying it.”

Siddiqui additionally claimed the mosque was constructed by Sultan Iltutmish, the ruler of Delhi, in 1222.

New Delhi-based lawyer Mehmood Pracha informed Al Jazeera such court docket orders have the potential to create “extra mischief fairly than furthering the reason for justice and fairness”.

“The Locations of Worship Act needed to be enacted due to the Babri Mosque case, the place in broad daylight a mosque was destroyed. The regulation was aimed to forestall such happenings in future and guarantee established order of non secular locations,” he stated.

Rifat Fareed contributed to this report

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