The Muslim side said it would approach the High Court after a Varanasi court on Monday agreed to hear the petition of a group of Hindu women seeking year-long access to pray inside the Gyanvapi mosque, situated next to the Kashi Viswanath temple, ANI reported.
“We had petitioned that the case listed was not worth hearing. Our plea was denied today. We will approach the High Court now. Case has just started, it will go on,” ANI quoted Mohd Sameem, advocate of the Muslim side, as saying.
Uttar Pradesh Minority Minister Danish Azad Ansari, however, said the court verdict should be respected. “A court listens to all sides and only then comes to a conclusion. All of us should respect whatever verdict the court has given & follow it,” Ansari said.
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The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee had said the Gyanvapi mosque was a Waqf property and had questioned the maintainability of the plea of the Hindu side.
However, District Judge AK Vishvesh ordered that it would continue to hear the petition seeking the right to worship in the temple.
Five women had filed a petition seeking permission for daily worship of Hindu deities whose idols are claimed to be located on an outer wall of the Gyanvapi mosque. The women’s petition will be heard on September 22.
In May, the Supreme Court had assigned the case to the Varanasi district judge’s court, shifting it from a lower court.
A month before the Supreme Court took up the matter, the Varanasi civil court had ordered a videographic survey of the Gyanvapi mosque, based on the petition by the Hindu women.
According to the Hindu petitioners, the report mentioned that a ‘Shivling’ had been found in a pond within the mosque complex used for ‘wuzu’ or purification rituals before Muslim prayers.
Well-known Sunni cleric Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali expressed concern over the fact that the Places of Worship Act 1991 was being set aside and such cases were being raised. “We will fight the matter legally,” IANS quoted Mahali as saying.