The Supreme Court, on May 17, had instructed the Varanasi administration on where precisely the 'Shivling' (a Lord Shiva symbol) was found inside the Gyanvapi mosque in the Uttar Pradesh city. The Supreme Court's query to the administration came up during the hearing of a plea by the mosque committee that sought a direction from the authorities in Varanasi to prohibit the videography of the mosque complex.
"Where exactly was the 'Shivling' found?" Justice DY Chandrachud stated. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Uttar Pradesh government, responded by saying that "we have not seen the report" and sought time till May 18 to return with details, reported NDTV.
Mehta also added that the exact location where the 'Shivling' was found was sealed to evade any law and order problems if somebody who came to offer namaz (prayers) touched it with their feet. Furthermore, the 'Shivling' was also said to be found in a pond, used for "wazoo" or purification rituals right before offering namaz.
Supreme Court's Order On The Gyanvapi Mosque!
SC had then instructed the Varanasi District Magistrate to make sure that if the 'Shivling' was found, the area should be protected, but without restricting Muslims from coming to the mosque for their prayers.
Earlier this week, after a sensational claim by Hindu petitioners that a "Shivling" had been found inside a pond at Gyanvapi masjid complex, a local court had directed to seal it. As per reports, the "Shivling" was allegedly found during court-mandated filming of the mosque complex on the back of a petition seeking access to pray at a shrine right behind the mosque.
Muslim petitioners had earlier rejected the assertion, claiming that it was a "fountain, not a Shivling".
Shivling Inside The Gyanvapi Mosque?
During the most recent Supreme Court hearing on May 17, the Muslim petitioners asked how the city court had ordered the place to be sealed when the committee report, which surveyed the entire complex premises, had not been submitted yet.
"How did the court proceed based on the submission of the other party and seal the place? Look at the way the orders are passed," the Muslim petitioners said in the apex Court.
Right beside the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple, the Gyanvapi mosque is located. So far, five women petitioners have requested the court to grant daily prayers before idols on its outer walls and other "visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex". At present, the site is open for prayers once every year.
The Varanasi Civil Court had ordered a video assessment of the entire mosque premises, including the three domes, the basements underground and the pond, and has also appointed court commissioners for the task.