The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board has termed as "unfair" and an "attempt to create communal disharmony" the sealing of a pond in the Gyanvapi Masjid complex after it was claimed that a Shivling was found there during a survey.
During a court-mandated videography survey, the counsel representing the Hindu side claimed that the Shivling was found close to the "wazookhana"-- a small reservoir used by Muslim devotees to perform ritual ablutions before offering the namaz.
A mosque management committee spokesperson disputed the claim, telling a television channel that the object was part of a "fountain". He said lawyers representing the mosque committee were not fully heard before the sealing order was pronounced.
In a statement issued late Monday night, AIMPLB general secretary Khalid Saifullah Rahmani said, "The Gyanvapi mosque is a mosque and will remain a mosque. The attempt to term it a temple is nothing more than a conspiracy to create communal disharmony. It is a matter of constitutional rights and is against the law."
"In 1937, in the case of Deen Mohammad Vs State Secretary, the court had decided on the basis of oral testimony and documents that this entire compound (Gyanvapi mosque complex) belongs to the Muslim Waqf and Muslims have the right to offer namaz in it," he said.
The court had also decided that how much area is of the mosque and how much is of the temple. At the same time, the wazookhana was accepted as the property of the mosque, Rahmani added.
"Then in 1991, the Places of Worship Act was passed by Parliament, which states that the places of worship as they were in 1947 will be maintained in the same condition. Even in the Babri Masjid judgment, it was said that now all places of worship places will be under this law," he said.
The AIMPLB general secretary also said the claim of the mosque being a temple should have been immediately rejected by the court but the civil court of Varanasi ordered the survey and videography.
The Waqf Board has approached the high court in this matter and the case is pending there.
The Gyanvapi mosque management committee has also approached the Supreme Court against the civil court's decision.
"The issue is being heard. But by ignoring all these things, the civil court first issued the order of the survey and then, accepting its report, issued an order to seal the portion of wazookhana," Rahmani said.
"This order is an excess and also a violation of law which cannot be expected from a court. The government should stop the implementation of the order and wait for the Allahabad High Court's decision. The government should protect all religious places as per the 1991 Act," he said.
Referring to the claims of a temple inside the mosque, Rahmani said, "If the status of the places of worship is changed on the basis of such arguments, then the whole country will be pushed into turmoil, because many big temples are made by converting Buddhist and Jain shrines and their traces are also visible there."
"Muslims cannot tolerate this atrocity. The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board will fight this injustice at every level," he said.