Lucknow: Varanasi’s senior-most court denied Hindu petitioners’ request for carbon dating to establish the age of a supposed ‘Shivling’ discovered in the Gyanvapi mosque complex. The Hindu petitioners will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
10 biggest developments in this story:
- The ‘Shivling,’ or relic of Lord Shiva, was discovered earlier this year during a video search conducted at the Gyanvapi mosque compound on the direction of a lower court in response to a plea by five Hindu women seeking year-round access to pray at a shrine inside the mosque complex. It is still being heard in that case.
- Any investigation, such as carbon dating, would violate a Supreme Court ruling that sealed the location of the ‘Shivling’ inside the mosque, according to a Varanasi court.
- Additionally, the Supreme Court’s directives to safeguard the ‘Shivling’ would be broken if the building were damaged, the court said.
- Any damage to the ‘Shivling’ may also offend religious sensibilities and decrease the likelihood that the issue will be resolved through the judicial system, the court said.
- Four of the five Hindu petitioners asked for a scientific analysis, including carbon dating, to determine the age of the ‘Shivling,’ last month. The ladies assert that the mosque contains ancient Hindu god and goddess idols.
- The mosque committee opposed to such an inquiry, claiming the matter concerned praying at a shrine inside the mosque and had nothing to do with the building’s physical layout. They asserted that the thing being referred to as a ‘Shivling’ is really a ‘fountain’ that Muslims use for cleaning rites before to prayers.
- The court inquired last week about the possibility of including the ‘Shivling’ in the lawsuit and the legality of requesting a scientific inquiry. Speaking on behalf of Hindu women, Vishnu Shankar Jain told NDTV: ‘In our prayer, we stated that we were requesting the right to worship in front of both visible and invisible deities inside the mosque complex. The Shivling was previously submerged by water; however, as the water was removed, it became a visible god and is now a part of the suit’, Mr. Jain informed NDTV that.
- On September 12, a challenge by the mosque committee, which claimed that the case brought by the Hindu ladies lacks legal standing, was rejected by the Varanasi district judge. On each of the three grounds they raised, their challenge was denied. The 1991 statute, which preserves a house of worship’s standing as it was on August 15, 1947, is the most significant of them. The court determined that the petitioners only requested the freedom to worship, not ownership.
- On the basis of the women’s plea, a lower court in Varanasi ordered the recording of the centuries-old mosque earlier this year. According to the videography report, which the petitioners controversially disclosed, a ‘Shivling’ was discovered in a pond used for ‘Wazoo,’ or the required purifying rites before Muslim prayers.
- On the list of mosques that Hindu fundamentalists think were constructed on the remains of temples is the Gyanvapi mosque, which is situated in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Along with Ayodhya and Mathura, it was one of the three temple-mosque rows that the BJP promoted in the 1980s and 1990s.