Friday 1 July 2022
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British-era affidavit wanted Gyanvapi as Waqf property; then-government snubbed Muslims

After the court heard the Hindu side too, it summoned the British-era secretary of state for India in the council who rejected the Muslim petition

As the Gyanvapi Masjid controversy rages, a British-era document dug out by a television channel shows that a temple existed on the premises before the mosque was built on that very plot. An affidavit dated 1936 describes the “places of Hindu worship” located within the Gyanvapi compound, naming numerous sites within the premises, reported Times Now today.

A statement in reply to the British-era says, “We worship Gangeshwar beneath ‘pipal which is to the east of the mosque. After that, we worship the image of Radha Krishna. After going on the wooden ladder in the house in which Vyas lives, then we again come into the compound and worship the joint images of Shiva and Dasrath known as Gauri Shankar.”

“After that, we worship Tarkeshwar near Gauri Shankar’s image, after that Nand Keshwas, then Mahakoleshwar, beneath the ‘pipal’ at the south-east corner over the ‘chabutara‘, then the Gyan Vapi well, then Ganeshji, known as Madadi Panch Vinayak, then Maheshwar under the third ‘pipal’ tree, then Muktheshwar which is a hidden place at the south-west corner, then we worship Srinagar Gauri…” reads a part of the British-era legal document.

The civil lawsuit was part of a Muslim endeavour, which sought the declaration of the area as Waqf property while the documents unearthed today have a written reply filed on behalf of the secretary of state for India in the council that rubbished the Muslim claim and, instead, said that it was government land.

The side opposed to the Muslim plea had said that a structure created over a temple land could not be deemed a mosque. It cited the “idols and temple” which have purportedly stood on the premises for long before the advent of Mohammedan (Muslim) rule in India.

The British-administered Government of India had also made note of the submission that non-Muslims had been using the land for religious purposes too.

Meanwhile, the Varanasi district court today completed the hearing of arguments in the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir-Gyanvapi Masjid case and reserved its decision until tomorrow. The hearing began today in Varanasi court after the Supreme Court said it would not interfere with the Gyanvapi survey and transferred the case to the lower court while noting the “complexities and sensitivities involved in the matter” would require a “more senior and experienced hand”.

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