Gyanvapi: Allahabad HC to hear plea against pujas today; Mosque committee appeals traders to shut shops

The cellar was opened at 10.30pm on Wednesday and poojas were performed

Gyanvapi Mosque (File) Crowd outside the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi as prayers were performed in a cellar of the mosque on Wednesday night | PTI

The Gyanvapi mosque committee appealed to members of the Muslim community to keep their businesses closed on Friday and indulge in prayers in protest against the Varanasi Court’s order permitting pujas in the sealed cellar of the Masjid. The Allahabad High Court will be hearing the mosque committee’s plea against the lower court’s order today.

The decision was reportedly taken in a meeting of prominent members of the Muslim community with clerics in Varanasi. In an appeal issued by Maulana Abdul Batin Nomani, Shahar-e-Mufti and AIMC general secretary read, “As you all are aware of the matter that on the basis of the order of the court of the district judge, Varanasi, the district administration has hastily made arrangements for worship in the southern basement of Gyanvapi Masjid, Banaras, and the worship has also started there. In view of this situation, a meeting of office bearers of AIMC with the Ulema (clerics) and prominent people of the community in the city was held. In the meeting, a decision was taken that on Friday, all shops and businesses will be kept closed in a peaceful manner, and people of the community should remain busy in prayers while staying in their respective cities and areas,” Hindustan Times reported. 

Nomani further appealed that all are instructed to maintain “complete peace and tranquility and avoid going anywhere without any reason”. Women were urged to stay at homes and offer prayers and community members were asked to conduct marriages, rituals with simplicity. 

Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court will be hearing the mosque committee against the Varanasi District Court’s order permitting the Hindu side to conduct prayers in the sealed cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque. 

Daily prayers have begun at 'Vyas Ka Tehkhana' in Gyanvapi mosque. Prayers were offered on Wednesday night itself after the Varanasi district court directed the district administration to make arrangements in seven days to offer prayers in the sealed cellar. This will involve "proper arrangements" with metal barricades at the complex. The cellar was opened at 10.30pm on Wednesday and poojas were performed. 

The Muslim side said the local administration acted in hot haste. "There is no reason for the administration to undertake this task in hot haste in the dead of the night as the order passed by the Trial Court had already given them one week to make the necessary arrangements. The obvious reason for such unseemly haste is that the administration in collusion with the plaintiffs is trying to foreclose any attempt by the Mosque Managing Committee to avail of their remedies against the said order by presenting them with a fait accompli," their letter has said.

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