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MANUU Students’ Union Questions Verdict on Gyanvapi Masjid, Urges Supreme Court Intervention to Safeguard Mosques Across India

The MANUU (Maulana Azad National Urdu University) Students’ Union has expressed deep concern over a judgment by the Varanasi District Court, permitting Hindu prayer inside the basement of the Gyanvapi Masjid.

The decision, delivered on the last day of the district judge’s service, has raised eyebrows and is being criticized for “undermining the rule of law and justice.”

“The Varanasi District Judge’s decision appears to blatantly disregard the explicit provisions of the Place of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which strictly prohibits the conversion of religious worship places,” stated the union. They further alleged that the court may have succumbed to majoritarian sentiments influenced by groups like the RSS and BJP.

“It seems that the court has surrendered to majoritarian sentiments influenced by the RSS and BJP, rather than upholding the law of the land. Unfortunately, the media is misleading the Hindu community by misrepresenting the facts and creating a false narrative that Hindu worship has taken place within the mosque. It is crucial to clarify that no worship has ever occurred in the Gyanvapi Masjid basement,” the union said.

Questioning the timing of the decision, made on the final day of the district judge’s service, the union condemned the lower courts for seemingly “favouring” the Hindu party through incremental decisions.

“The initial claim, asserting that the Gyanvapi Masjid was a Hindu temple demolished by Aurangzeb to construct a mosque, was challenged by the mosque administration in the Supreme Court citing the 1991 Places of Worship Act. However, the Supreme Court then referred it to the district court, and the district court’s ruling dismissed the applicability of both the Places of Worship Act, 1991, and the Waqf Act to this case,” the union said.

Drawing parallels with the Babri Masjid case, the union expressed concern about a troubling trend where “government machinery seems to be replicating similar scenarios nationwide.”

“This pattern, like the Babri Masjid case, began in lower courts, with the media playing an unfortunate role in shaping a false narrative that ultimately led to the destruction of the historical mosque by a radical Hindu mob,” stated the union.

Highlighting the incident of the Sunehri Masjid in Delhi, the union pointed out that numerous mosques across the country, regardless of their historical significance, are now seemingly under threat.

“We earnestly appeal to the Supreme Court to instruct the central government to rigorously enforce the law on places of worship and mandate lower courts not to consider any new petitions related to mosques in the presence of the law,” urged the union.

“We also call upon all people committed to justice and democracy to unite and raise their voices against these orchestrated attempts to fuel anti-Muslim communal polarization. It is imperative for the sake of a peaceful and just society that the rule of law prevails over divisive agendas,” the union said.

The Gyanvapi dispute is a legal and religious controversy over the ownership and history of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, India. The mosque is adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, one of the most sacred Hindu shrines. Some Hindus claim that the mosque was built on the ruins of a temple that was demolished by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century.

The Muslim side denies this allegation and asserts that the mosque is a valid waqf (religious endowment) property that is protected by the Places of Worship Act of 1991. The act prohibits any change in the religious character of places of worship as they existed on August 15, 1947, the date of India’s independence.

The Allahabad High Court has rejected the Muslim side’s pleas challenging the maintainability of a civil suit pending in a Varanasi court, paving the way for the restoration of a temple at the site currently occupied by the Gyanvapi mosque.

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