The mosque committee, which is one of the defendants to the matter and represents the Muslim side, said the order was “one-sided” as the committee was neither heard nor notified about the plea, even as it rubbished the claim that the structure found was a shivling, stressing it is instead a portion of a fountain that stood in the centre of the wazukhana but was no longer in use.
The general secretary of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee said the order will be challenged in the SC on Tuesday when the SC is also scheduled to hear a plea challenging the previous order of the lower court that allowed the survey and videography of the mosque.
A report will be submitted by the advocate commissioner in court on Tuesday as per the court’s Thursday order regarding the findings of the exercise, post which objections to the findings may be invited.
The court of civil judge (senior division), represented by Ravi Kumar Diwakar, was presented with an urgent appeal by the Hindu side led by senior lawyer Harishankar Jain, that the team found a shivling inside the complex and since it was “a significant piece of evidence”, the CRPF should be asked to seal it whereas the district administration should be asked to not let Muslims enter the spot. The spot where the 3-foot idol has been found is a ‘wazukhana’ – a tank-like structure where devotees do wazu or ablution before offering namaz at the mosque. Jain said only 20 Muslims should be allowed to offer namaz and they should be stopped immediately from doing wazu.
The court subsequently accepted the plea and ordered “immediate sealing” of the spot, and barred the entry of any person in the wazukhana. The court said the DM and the police commissioner of Varanasi as well as the CRPF commandment of the district are “personally responsible” for “preserving and protecting” the sealed site. Further, it fixed responsibility of “supervising” the activities carried out by the local administration related to the sealing on the director general of UP police as well as the state chief secretary.
Speaking to ET, SM Yasin, general secretary of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, the committee that manages the 17th century mosque, said: “First of all, the structure is a part of a fountain. In olden times, all mosques had a wazukhana or tank and a fountain in the middle. They (the Hindu side) called it a shivling and went straight to court and the court passed a one-sided order. We were neither heard nor notified. They were in such a hurry that they submitted a handwritten plea…”
“Our case is pending in the SC and listed for Tuesday. We will see what happens there…we do still have faith in higher courts even though our faith in lower courts has been shaken after today’s one-sided order,” he said. Yasin said an alternative facility will be worked out for devotees to perform ablution for as long as the wazukhana is sealed.
CLAIMS OF SHIVLING
The tank’s water level had been lowered for inspection when the claimed shivling was sighted. Vishnu Jain, one of the advocates of the Hindu side, said the idol is facing the idol of Nandi bull which stands at a distance of 83 ft from it, inside the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The idol of the Nandi generally faces the shivling in most temples, but in Varanasi, the idol at the Kashi Vishwanath temple faces the mosque. The Hindu side claims it is because the original shivling is inside the mosque complex.
Sohan Lal Arya, one of the petitioners from the Hindu side told reporters that as soon as the shivling was discovered, slogans of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ were raised. He said the next step would be to ask the court to inspect a 15 ft high ‘rubble’ in front of the western wall of the mosque where the remains of idols of Hindu gods and goddesses are claimed to be.