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Hindus' petition on Varanasi Gyanvapi mosque is 'maintainable', next hearing on Sept 22

VARANASI, Sept 12: The Gyanvapi mosque petition by Hindu women to allow prayers is maintainable, the Varanasi court has ruled, dismissing the challenge by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee.

In his order, district judge AK Vishvesh on Monday said that the next hearing on the petition filed by a group of Hindu women for permission to pray at the Gyanvapi mosque round the year instead of one day as at present will be held on September 22. He had last month reserved the order till September 12.

Currently prayers are allowed once a year, on the fourth day of Chaitra Navratri.

The Gyanvapi mosque stands next to the famous Kashi Viswanath temple. The mosque was built after demolishing parts of the Viswanath temple, it is disputed.

Last year in August the women had filed the petition before the civil court and prayed for a survey of the mosque as idols of Hindu gods and goddesses were found there. A videography taken subsequently had shown a shivling in the ablution pond in the mosque complex used for "Wazoo" or purification rituals before Muslim prayers. A confidential report to this effect was filed before the court by the panel appointed for the survey job. But the Muslims rised objections. Muslim petitioners urged the court to reject the petition.

A Gyanvapi mosque committee approached the Supreme Court stating that the Hindu demand violates the 1991 Places of Worship Act) that maintains the religious status of places of worship as of August 15, 1947.

In May this year the apex court directed that a district court take up the matter considering the "complexity and sensitivity" of the dispute.

The Hindus want an archeological survey to find out if a temple had stood at the place of the Gyanvapi mosque.

Meanwhile, prohibitory orders have been clamped in the Varanasi commissionerate area to ensure that peace is maintained.

Varanasi is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency.

The Hindus believe that most of the country's mosques were built by demolishing temples.

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