Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Gyanvapi Mosque verdict: Judge concerned on his family’s safety

Justice Ravi Kumar Diwakar and Gyanvapi Mosque

In a major development, a Varanasi court on Thursday released an order allowing the videographic survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises days after it had to be aborted owing to vehement opposition. 

Varanasi’s Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar ordered the continuation of the survey and rejected the plea to change the court-appointed advocate commissioner for conducting a video survey of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex. 

Amid this, the judge also expressed safety concerns in his order.

Judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar, in his order, said that an atmosphere of fear is being created and noted that he is worried about his family’s safety. He also expressed concerns about going to the survey spot. 

Diwakar said, “An atmosphere of fear was created by making this civil case into an extraordinary case. The fear is so much that my family is always concerned about my safety and I am concerned about their safety.”

“Concerns about safety are repeatedly expressed by my wife when I am out of the house. Yesterday, my mother (in Lucknow) during our conversation also expressed concerns about my safety, and from the news received by the media, she came to know that maybe I am also going to the spot as commissioner and my mother asked me that I should not go on commission on the spot, as it may endanger my safety,” the judge added. 

Gyanvapi survey order

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2019 verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute, there was a renewed clamour from certain outfits to retrieve the entire Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque premises. 

Asserting that the original Kashi Vishwanath Temple was built over 2000 years ago, they claim that the Gyanvapi Mosque was constructed after the temple was demolished by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1669. While a Varanasi court had ordered an archaeological survey at this place of worship on April 8 last year, the Allahabad HC stayed this order. 

The present case pertains to a petition filed by a number of women from Delhi before a court in Varanasi on 18 April 2021, seeking permission for daily worship and observance of rituals of Goddess Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman and Nandi located at the back of the western wall of the Gyanvapi mosque. They contended that an image of Goddess Shringar Gauri existed at the spot since times immemorial and urged the court to ascertain the same. On April 26, Varanasi’s Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar ordered a videographic survey to ascertain the petitioners’ claim. 

While a team led by court commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra conducted a partial survey of some areas outside the mosque on May 6, they were prevented from entering the mosque complex the next day. Subsequently, the Gyanvapi mosque management committee moved the court seeking the replacement of Mishra as the court commissioner citing that he was acting in a biased manner as he tried to get the videography done inside the mosque without orders. On the other hand, the Hindu side asserted that the April 26 order included the opening of two basements inside the barricading in the mosque complex for videography.

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