VARANASI: After a lawyer of a petitioner claimed that a 'Shivlinga
' was found in the 'wuzu khana' (ablution pond) of the Gyanvapi
complex during the survey on Monday, the civil judge (senior division) ordered to seal the area.
The development came just a day before the scheduled submission of the videography survey report before the court of civil judge (senior division), Ravi Kumar Diwakar, on Tuesday. The district administration later sealed the ‘wuzu’ pond area and handed over the keys to the treasury.
The Gyanvapi Masjid management, however, claimed that the structure found was part of a fountain. SM Yasin, the joint secretary of Anjuman Intejamia Masajid, which manages Gyanvapi affairs and is one of the parties in the case, said: "The structure which plaintiffs and their lawyers are claiming to be a 'Shivlinga' is part of a fountain."
The court swung into action on Monday after Harishankar Jain, the lawyer of one of the plaintiffs, Rakhi Singh, left the Gyanvapi complex before the survey process could end, reached the court and moved an application.
In his plea, Jain claimed that a 'Shivlinga' had been found in the survey of the complex. “As it is very important evidence in this case, the area should be sealed immediately for its safety,” stated Jain, demanding a ban on the entry of Muslims in the complex and not allowing more than 20 persons to enter the mosque for namaz.
In his order, civil judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar asked the district administration, the local police and CRPF
, engaged in the security of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham and Gyanvapi area, to seal the area inside the Gyanvapi complex where the Shivlinga had been found, as per Jain's claim.
The court made the state chief secretary and director general of police responsible for the supervision of the sealing process and the work done by district magistrate, the commissioner of police and CRPF for the execution of the order. The court said that safety and security of the area would be the personal responsibility of the DM, the CP and CRPF commandant.
Regarding the court order, DM Kaushal Raj Sharma said that after receiving the order, the process for isolating the ‘wuzu’ pond area of Gyanvapi mosque
had been started by making alternative arrangements to ensure that Muslims did not face any problem after reaching the mosque for namaz.
As the pond area already had a fencing of steel angles covered with net and has three doors for entry, no major arrangements were needed for its sealing. This area was already under sharp vigil of the CRPF as it has a watch tower close to the pond area, the DM added.
Earlier, petitioners and their lawyers came out of the Gyanvapi complex jubilant. One of the lawyers, Dr Sohanlal Arya, said: “Baba mil gaye. Jin khoja tin payiya gahre pani paith... Isharo me puri baat samajh lijiye (We found Lord Shiva. We found what we were searching for. Try to understand what I want to say in gestures).”
Other lawyers accompanying the court commission termed it a “historic day” and said that the evidence collected by the court commission in this case would play a key role in all cases related to Gyanvapi being contested in different courts.
Regarding the demand for sealing the area where the 'Shivlinga' was claimed to have been found, Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh (VVSS) chief Jitendra Singh Visen, who is backing the main plaintiff Rakhi Singh, said, “Definitely, a large number of evidence have been collected, but so far it is the biggest evidence. It is in the open and could be harmed, hence we have demanded sealing of the area.”
AIM joint secretary SM Yasin said that the sealing of the ‘wuzu’ pond would be mentioned before the Supreme Court, where a hearing on the petition challenging the videography and survey would take place on Tuesday.
AIM’s lawyer Abhay Nath Yadav said: “I am shocked to see that lawyers of plaintiffs are making claims that 'Shivlinga' was found inside Gyanvapi despite the fact that the court commission’s report had not been submitted. After submission of the advocate commissioner's report, the court has to decide whether it is a 'Shivlinga' or a fountain. The court commission was formed on the demand of plaintiffs and their lawyers hence they should be patient and show faith in rule of law instead of indulging in such acts, which can disturb communal peace.”
The mosque is located close to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the local court is hearing a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols on its outer walls. Monday’s survey of the mosque complex, as per the court order, which started at 8 am, concluded at around 10:15 am. With this, the court-mandated videography and survey concluded after three days. Watch Gyanvapi mosque survey: Varanasi court orders sealing of area where 'Shivling' has been found