Gyanvapi Masjid controversy: History & Timeline Of Events

After the order of a Varanasi court, the survey work started in Gyanvapi Masjid. On Thursday, 12 May, a Bench of Varanasi, while pronouncing the verdict, had ordered videography.

According to the court’s order, the survey started at 8 am on Saturday, and will continue till 12 noon. At eight o’clock in the morning, the lawyers and parties of both the parties reached gate number four of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor.

The survey is being done inside the mosque in the presence of everyone.

A large number of police forces are deployed around the mosque. Also, all the roads leading to gate number four have been closed. Markets are also closed in view of the survey. Apart from this, Banaras DM and administration are also present on the spot for action.

More than 1500 policemen and PAC jawans have been deployed as part of the security arrangements. Officials said that the movement of people has been stopped at a distance of 500 meters from the Gyanvapi campus. The police have also banned the movement of vehicles coming from Godaulia and the plains of the city.

Before entering the Gyanvapi complex, advocate Madan Mohan Yadav, appearing for the Hindu side, said that all the members of the survey team were asked to assemble at gate number 4 of the Kashi Vishwanath temple complex at 7.30 am.

He said that special lights and cameras were arranged to carry out the survey work. The mosque management committee has indicated that it will cooperate with the team assigned by the local court for the time being.

On this occasion, BJP leader Keshav Prasad Maurya has tweeted- “Stop doing opposition politics regarding Gyanvapi campus Kashi and Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Mathura, what is happening is by order of the court, everyone should wait, in future the honourable court which Will give orders, everyone should follow it.”

Earlier on Friday, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court regarding the decision of the Varanasi Court on Gyanvapi Masjid. In this petition, the Supreme Court has been urged to order the status quo to be maintained till the dispute is resolved in this matter.

Gyanvapi Masjid controversy

On 18 August 2021, five women from Delhi filed a petition in a Benaras court. They say that they should be allowed to have darshan on the temple premises, worship and have darshan of Maa Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman, Adi Visheshwar, Nandiji and other deities on the mosque premises.

They also demand that the Anjuman Intezamiya Mosque be stopped from vandalizing, breaking or damaging the idols of the deities. These women had also made a separate application in their petition and demanded that the court appoint an advocate commissioner to ensure the existence of the idols of all these deities.

After this, the trial court appointed local lawyer Ajay Kumar as Advocate Commissioner and ordered videography of inspection and inspection of the premises.

On 26 April 2022, Civil Judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar of Varanasi ordered a survey and videography of the mosque premises by the Advocate Commissioner. However, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, which manages the Gyanvapi Masjid, and the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board opposed the survey.

While appointing Ajay Kumar Mishra as Advocate Commissioner, the court directed him to survey the premises and submit the videography report.

Also Read:  Gyanvapi Masjid survey over: Shivling’ found in Gyanvapi well

The survey, which began on May 6, could not be completed due to a dispute over videography inside the mosque. The caretaker committee of Gyanvapi Masjid and its lawyers said that they oppose any kind of videography inside the mosque. But the lawyers for the petitioners claimed that they had a court order to do so.

The counsel for the Muslim side argued that the court had not allowed videography up to the courtyard inside the mosque and only outside the barricades. The videography of Gyanvapi Masjid concluded with sloganeering from both Hindu and Muslim sides.

Demolition of Vishweshwar Temple

The site originally contained a Vishweshwara temple, founded by Todar Mal along with Narayan Bhatt – the head of the most famous Brahmin family of Banaras – in the late sixteenth century.

Veer Singh Deo Bundela, a close associate of Jahangir, was a possible patron in the early seventeenth century and he renovated the temple to some extent. The exact details of the history of the temple and the site are somewhat debated.

The Gyanvapi Mosque was painted by James Prinsep as the temple of Vishweshwara, Banaras. The original wall of the now-demolished temple still stands in the mosque.

Around 1669, Aurangzeb ordered the demolition of the temple and began the construction of the Gyan Vapi mosque in its place. The base of the temple was left largely untouched and continued to serve as the courtyard of the mosque; The southern wall (with its curved arches, exterior mouldings and pylons) was also spared and converted into the Qibla Wall.

Among these surviving elements is the influence of the Mughal architectural style on the original temple.

Timeline

In 1991, the first petition, in this case, was filed in the Varanasi Court by the self-styled Jyotirlinga Lord Vishweshwar.

In 1998 the Anjuman Intejamia Masjid Committee filed a case in the Allahabad High Court. The committee, in its petition before the court, said that the temple-mosque land dispute could not be decided by a civil court as it was barred by law.

In 2019, a petition was filed by a person named Rastogi on behalf of the self-styled Jyotirlinga Lord Vishweshwar in the Varanasi District Court. The petitioner demanded that an archaeological survey of the entire Gyanvapi mosque complex should be conducted.

In 2020, the Anjuman Intejamiya Masjid Committee opposed the petition seeking an ASI survey of the entire Gyanvapi complex. In the same year, the petitioner again approached the lower court with a petition, requesting a resumption of the hearing as the Allahabad High Court had not extended the adjournment.

In 2021, the city court ordered the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct the requested survey. In addition, a five-member committee of experts in archaeology was asked to be formed, consisting of two members from the “minority community”, to determine whether a temple existed at the site prior to the mosque.

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