Gyanvapi: Varanasi court to hear plea restricting movement above sealed cellar on April 11

The plea filed by the Hindu side states that the cellar's roof is very old and weak

Gyanvapi sealed cellar prayers (File) A priest performs prayers in the basement of Gyanvapi mosque | PTI

The Varanasi district court has fixed April 11 for hearing a plea seeking to stop Muslim devotees from walking on top of the Gyanvapi mosque's southern cellar, where the court recently allowed Hindu prayers.

According to the counsel for the Hindu side, Madan Mohan Yadav, the Muslim side told the court of in-charge district judge Anil Kumar on Tuesday that they were fasting because it was the month of Ramzan. Therefore, they should be given time to present their side, he said. “On this, the court fixed April 11 as the date of hearing,” he said.

The plea filed by the Hindu side has stated that the cellar's roof is very old and weak. It also said the pillars of this basement, also known as 'Vyas Tehkhana', needed repair. The fresh plea was filed days after the Allahabad High Court said Hindu prayers will continue in the 'Vyas Tehkhana' of the Gyanvapi mosque while dismissing the mosque committee's plea that had challenged the district court's order to this effect.

Yadav had said Muslim devotees walking or offering namaz on top of the cellar is not good for the old structure which should be repaired. On January 31, the district court ruled that a Hindu priest can perform prayers before the idols in the southern cellar of the mosque.

The prayers are now being conducted by a Hindu priest nominated by the Kashi Vishwanath temple trust and the petitioner, who has claimed that his grandfather offered puja in the cellar till December 1993.

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