The name of Vishnu Shankar Jain has been doing the rounds as much as advocate Parasaran’s used to be during the Ayodhya case hearing — in the context of the Kashi Vishwanath mandir-versus-Gyanvapi Masjid case being heard at a district and sessions court in Varanasi. Advocate Vishnu Jain, whose submissions in the court have been making news headlines constantly, alleged today that the Shivling (Shiva Linga) which was found by the advocate commissioner’s team during the civil court-mandated survey of the disputed premises had been “damaged”.
“They have actually damaged the Shivling that they are referring to as a fountain. The 63-cm hole found in the structure has actually been done by them. They had kept a Chakri sort of a thing atop…the 5 cages made up of cement that you are seeing is their doing,” Advocate Vishnu Jain said.
The lawyer on the side of the Hindu party to the dispute said, “It’s a matter of a few days back when they were taking the Chakri but were stopped by the CRPF. The Chakri is kept in the storeroom, and its videography and photography have been done. We will put this matter before the court once the maintainability of the suit is decided.”
District and Session Judge AK Vishvesha resumed the hearing in the Gyanvapi Mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple complex issue today, with the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee’s plea challenging the maintainability of the suit filed by the Hindu side on today via Advocate Vishnu Jain and a battery of other lawyers.
The ongoing legal tussle began with a petition by five Delhi-based women, which had sought permission for daily worship and observance of rituals of Goddess Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman and Nandi located at the back of the western wall of the Gyanvapi Masjid. The petitioners contended that Goddess Shringar Gauri existed at the spot since times immemorial and urged the court to ascertain the same.
On 26 April, Varanasi’s Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar had ordered a videography survey to ascertain the petitioners’ claim. While a team led by court commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra conducted a partial survey of some areas outside the mosque on 6 May, Muslims prevented the surveyors from entering the mosque complex the next day owing to a dispute over the interpretation of the court order.
Finally, the civil court allowed the videography survey of the Mosque premises, which was completed on 16 May. The report of the survey mentions a Shiva Linga that was found in the wuzukhanah on the disputed premises.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on 20 May transferred the civil suit filed by Hindu devotees on Gyanvapi mosque from the civil judge (senior division) to the district judge, Varanasi, saying that it was better if a senior judicial officer having an experience of over 25-30 years handled the case, considering the complexities and sensitivity of the issue.
The Varanasi district court announced on 24 May that it would start hearing the maintainability of the plea in the Gyanvapi Mosque case today.