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PoliticsIndiaWhy rejection of plea for carbon dating 'Shivling' in Gyanvapi mosque is...

Why rejection of plea for carbon dating ‘Shivling’ in Gyanvapi mosque is not Muslim victory

The Varanasi District Court rejected today the petition for carbon dating the ‘Shivling’ (Linga) discovered during the videography of the Gyanvapi Mosque, but this cannot be seen as a victory for the Muslim side because of the prime reason cited for the dismissal of the case. The court rejected all demands made for other kinds of scientific probes of the structure inside the mosque.

On 22 September, the Varanasi court had allowed the petition that asked for carbon dating of the structure inside the Gyanvapi mosque that the Hindu side has claimed is a Shivling (Linga). The court issued notices to other parties, seeking objections if any.

Carbon dating is an established radioactive method employed to determine the age of organic material, things that were once living and, therefore, are bound to decay. Living things have carbon in them in different forms. The dating method makes use of the fact that an isotope of carbon C-14, with an atomic mass of 14 rather than 12 (double the number of protons in its nucleus, which is the atomic number), disintegrates at a known rate.

Sirf News had explained on 23 September why carbon dating might not be feasible for the alleged Linga.

Explainer

The court rejected the Hindu plea, saying in its order that carbon dating of the structure "will not answer the questions of legalities involved in the suit".

The Hindu side had, during a court-mandated videography survey of the mosque premises earlier found a structure that resembled a Shivling (Linga) close to the wazoo-khanah, a small reservoir used by Muslims to perform ritual ablutions before offering the namaz. 

The Muslim side disputed the Shivling claim and maintained that the object was part of a fountain and not a Shivling.

The Muslim side today argued that the decision on the ASI survey of the mosque was still pending with the high court and hence the lower court must wait before allowing carbon dating of the structure.

The Hindu side had initially submitted a petition seeking carbon dating of the structure so as to ‘confirm’ their claims that the object in the mosque was in fact a ‘Shivling’. There were several objections raised by both the Muslim side and some litigators on the Hindu side for carbon dating the structure.

Advocate Mumtaz Ahmed, who had appeared for the Muslim side, earlier told the court that carbon dating of the object could not be done and if the object were to get damaged for the sake of carbon dating, it would amount to the defiance of the Supreme Court order.

The Muslim side also said that the original case is about the worship of Shringar Gauri while the structure inside the mosque has nothing to do with it.

Some from the Hindu side had opposed the plea seeking carbon dating too, saying that the demand was unwarranted and would amount to mishandling of the sacred structure.

The case may be viewed similar to the -versus-Babri Masjid dispute where the case was a title suit, which did not deal with the faith of either side.

Similarly, whether carbon dating or any other scientific method established what the structure looking like a Linga originally was and how old it is, it would not settle the ownership dispute, as the ownership question does not depend on history. For, even Muslim historians do not dispute that Mughal king Aurangzeb had ordered the Kashi Vishwanath Temple's partial destruction.

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