Prayagraj (UP), Feb 2: The Allahabad High Court on Friday refused to allow the Gyanvapi Mosque committee’s plea seeking an interim stay on puja being performed in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi Mosque (known as Vyas Tehkhana).
However, the Court has directed the state government to maintain law and order situation in the area.
Puja inside the Tehkhana began on 31st January, shortly after the Varanasi District Judge passed an order directing the district magistrate to facilitate puja inside the area by making proper arrangements. The district magistrate complied with the order on the same day.
On Thursday, an appeal was moved by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee (which manages Gyanvapi mosque) challenging the order of the Varanasi District Court allowing Hindus to perform prayers in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque (Vyas Ji ka Tehkhana).
The committee also sought a stay on the worship rituals.
In its application, the mosque committee has contended that the administration was acting in ‘hot haste’ soon after the Varanasi Court’s order to allow the pooja at night itself. The application further argues that these actions, occurring in the middle of the night, aimed to pre-empt any legal challenge by the mosque managing committee.
While hearing the matter today, a Bench of Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal refused to grant any interim relief to the Mosque Committee as it stressed that it had not challenged Varanasi District Judge’s January 17th order, wherein the district magistrate was appointed as a receiver.
The Court has granted it time till February 6 to amend its appeal and till then, the Court directed the Advocate General to maintain law and order situation in the area.
This development comes two days after the Supreme Court refused to urgently hear the Mosque Committee’s plea against the order allowing puja Tehkhana, located at the southern cellar of the Mosque.
The Varanasi District Judge on January 31 directed the district administration to make appropriate arrangements within 7 days for Hindus to conduct worshipping rituals inside one of the sealed cellars/basement/tehkhana (vyas ji ka tehkhana) inside the existing Gyanvapi mosque complex.
Worship at this spot was stopped in the year 1993.