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High Court Rejects Objection, Allows Hindu Prayers to Continue in Gyanvapi Cellar

The Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi, India, has been the subject of a long-standing legal dispute known as the Gyanvapi Mosque-Kashi Vishwanath Temple dispute. The dispute revolves around the claim that the Gyanvapi mosque was built on the site of the original Kashi Vishwanath temple.

Regarding the statement provided, it appears to refer to a specific incident related to the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. The Babri Masjid demolition was a significant event in Indian history that occurred when a mob of Hindu nationalists demolished the Babri Masjid mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The demolition sparked communal violence across India and had far-reaching political and social implications.

The mention of the cellar, known as Vyas Ji Ka Tehkhana, being sealed in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition suggests a link between the events at Ayodhya and the situation at the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi. However, it’s important to note that the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath Temple dispute has its own complex history and legal proceedings separate from the Babri Masjid demolition.

The recent judgment from the high court sheds light on a legal dispute surrounding the cellar known as Vyas Ji Ka Tehkhana, located within the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi. Here are the key points highlighted in the judgment:

  1. Freedom of Religion: The court emphasized Article 25 of the Constitution of India, which grants freedom of religion. It stated that the Vyas family’s right to perform religious worship and rituals in the cellar, which they had been doing until 1993, could not be denied by oral order or arbitrary state action.
  2. Historical Ownership: Shailendra Pathak Vyas claimed that the cellar had been in his family’s possession since 1551 and submitted documents supporting this claim.
  3. Evidence: The court noted a 1936 map filed by the then-state government showing the existence of Vyas Ji Ka Tehkhana. Additionally, the Committee Of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, which challenged the district court order, failed to establish prima facie possession over the cellar.
  4. Continued Wrong: The court determined that the state government’s actions since 1993, which restrained the Vyas family and devotees from performing religious worship and rituals in the cellar, constituted a continuing wrong.
  5. Maligning Image of Lower Court: The court addressed attempts to undermine the lower court’s decision, stating that the district court had previously ordered the administration to take control and that the subsequent order was merely a correction of an accidental error.
  6. Conclusion: After analyzing the submissions and evidence, the court found no grounds to interfere with the district court’s orders appointing the District Magistrate, Varanasi, as Receiver and arranging for worship and rituals in the cellar under his supervision.

Overall, the judgment reaffirms the importance of religious freedom and emphasizes the need to respect historical ownership and evidence in resolving disputes concerning religious sites.

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