The Varanasi court on Wednesday afternoon gave permission to the Hindus to worship inside the sealed basement, the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque.
The court has said that prayers could be conducted in the mosque by priests from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, adding that necessary arrangements had to be completed within seven days.
“The District magistrate, Varanasi/receiver is directed to hand over the basement situated on the south side of the building situated at Settlement Plot No. 9130, Thana Chowk, District Varanasi, which is the suit property, to the plaintiff and the priest named by the Kashi Vishwanath Trust Board. Worship, Raga-Bhog, idols located in the basement should be done and for this purpose, iron fences etc. should be erected within 7 days,” the order read.
The judge – who retires today – also ordered the removal of the barricades preventing entry to ‘Vyas Ka Tekhana’ of the Gyanvapi complex, which was initially sealed by the Supreme Court during the survey operation of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Varanasi district court allows a priest’s kin right to worship deities in Gyanvapi mosque cellar, Hindu side counsel Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain told the media.
The Puja is set to start within seven days and everyone has the right to offer prayers, Jain said.
Jain had earlier claimed that debris from statues of Hindu gods had been found during the ASI survey. Moreover, he said that some parts of a pre-existing structure were used in the construction of the currently standing mosque.
On July 21, 2023, the Varanasi court granted permission for ASI to carry out a survey in the complex of Gyanvapi mosque, located adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, except for the ‘wuzukhana’ which was sealed by the Supreme Court.
The report was presented to the court and the concerned parties of the case, with a condition that it should not be made public.
All petitions by the mosque committee challenging the civil suits seeking restoration of the temple at the site were previously rejected by the Allahabad High Court in a crucial judgment given last month.