Gyanvapi Case: “Need More Clarity,” Says Varanasi Judge On Shivling Plea

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The court of Varanasi’s senior-most judge today deferred its order on a plea seeking carbon dating of a purported ‘Shivling’ found inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex. The court will pronounce its order on October 11. The plea by Hindu women petitioners sought scientific investigation, including carbon dating, of the ‘Shivling’ found during a video survey carried out on the orders of a lower court in the temple town earlier this year.
The court today sought clarifications from the lawyers for the women petitioners on two points: Whether the purported ‘Shivling’ can be made a part of the case or not and whether the court can actually order any scientific investigation.

Vishnu Shankar Jain, lead advocate for the Hindu women petitioners, said he tried to convince the court on both counts.

“We said two things – that in our prayer, we asked for rights to pray before visible and invisible deities inside the mosque complex and that the ‘Shivling’ was earlier under water. When the water was removed, it became a visible deity and so it is a part of the suit property. Secondly, we also drew the attention of the court to a rule that says the court has the power to order a commission for a scientific investigation,” Mr Jain told NDTV.

Akhlaq Ahmed, a lawyer for the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid (AIM), the mosque’s management committee, said they had sought more time from the court. “We said before the court that we needed more time to file replies to these fresh arguments by the Hindu side. Therefore, time has been granted until October 11,” Mr Ahmed said.

Four of the five Hindu women petitioners – whose original plea was to pray yearlong at a shrine inside the Gyanvapi mosque – were being heard in the district judge’s court today. They had filed the “scientific investigation” plea last month, saying it was necessary to determine the age of the ‘Shivling’. The women claimed that ancient idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses were located inside the mosque.

In a September hearing, the mosque committee had objected to the scientific investigation plea, saying that the case by the Hindu women was about worshipping at a shrine inside the mosque and had nothing to do with its structure and that the object being called a “Shivling” was actually a “fountain”.

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