Ground Report | New Delhi: Gyanvapi Masjid; The committee that runs the Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi has given a piece of land outside the mosque premises to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust. Instead, the committee has been given a nearby plot. Masjid officials said that the land given by the mosque committee was earlier given to the administration on a permanent lease to build a police control room.
An official of the mosque said that the trust had demanded it a few years ago for the corridor project. The plot given by the mosque committee is only about 15 meters away from the mosque premises. Instead, the piece of land which has been given to the committee is equal to its value but there is a difference in size.
The Masjid Committee has given 1700 square feet of land and in return, they have been given 1,000 square feet of land. The Indian Express, quoting SM Yasin, Joint Secretary of Anjuman Intezamiya Masjid and caretaker of Gyanvapi Masjid, has written that the plot given was not connected to the mosque, it is different.
Yasin said, “There are three plots under the Gyanvapi Masjid Committee. One of them has a mosque in the plot. The second plot is a common road between two places of worship and the third part was given to the district administration to build a control room.
He says that a year after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, a third plot was handed over to the district administration to build a control room for the security of both places. The police control room has now been demolished for the further work of the project.
Yasin explains that this piece of land owned by the Uttar Pradesh Central Sunni Waqf Board was given on lease for an unlimited period and without any transaction. “The trust had requested us to give this land a few years back. After examining the transfer rules, we finalized it on July 8,” he said.
Waqf Board Chairman Zafar Farooqui says that the piece of land given to the trust was commercial and also more valuable. Farooqui said, “The authorities had requested us for this. He had said that it is needed for the Kashi Vishwanath temple corridor.
The Indian Express quoted Sunil Verma, the chief executive officer of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust, as saying that the land was traded between the trust and the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board.
According to Sunil Verma, “The part of the land that has been given has nothing to do with the mosque. This land could have been bought because it is a waqf property. So we gave land which is of equal value in return for the mosque. The land which has been handed over to the committee was till now under the Kashi Vishwanath Special Area Development Board.
This land transaction agreement has come after the decision of a local court in Varanasi. In this decision, an ASI survey of the disputed Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Masjid complex was ordered. The court had ordered that the Archaeological Institute of India should excavate to find out whether there was a temple or mosque in the Gyanvapi complex and what was the religious nature of the complex at the time of the country’s independence.