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Ground Zero: Conversations in Varanasi centre around the Shivling of contention

IANS | May 21, 2022 04:08 PM

VARANASI: Amid contrary claims from both Hindu and Muslim sides, the issue of Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi has been a topic of discussion for the past few days.


While the Muslim side continues to deny the claims of finding a 'Shivling', people from the Hindu side here have been reiterating their claims over the finding.

Mahtab Ali, a resident of Varanasi, says, "this survey is nothing but politics. When we have a law, then what is the point of survey and excavation after that. Muslims here offer Namaz there and do Wuzu."

"This is not the only mosque that has such a fountain. Many other mosques have similar 'wuzukhana'. According to this, there is a Shivling everywhere, " he said.

A short distance away from the disputed site, restaurant owner Hari Prakash Singh said, "Customers have stopped coming to the restaurant after the survey started. The number of tourists has also come down. It looks the survey has created fear in the minds of people. Though the construction of the corridor has benefited us a lot, if Shivling has been found here, more people will come in coming days and our business will increase."

Professor Nagendra Pandey, chairman of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust, told IANS, "As the matter has gone to the court, it will do justice. Both Hindu and Muslim sides should not create panic. They must wait for the court verdict."

"Both sides have their own claims on the Gyanvapi mosque premises. In fact, the entire structure suggests of a temple. Symbols of flower, leaf, 'Trishul' can be found only in a temple and not in a mosque, " he said.

Both sides are firm on their claims. If Muslims are to be believed, then according to them what has been discovered during the survey is a fountain which is being unnecessarily claimed as Shivling.

On the other hand, Hindus are saying that it is a shivling. They have attacked Asaduddin Owaisi for saying that he will fight till doom for the mosque. "It is wrong to talk like this. He is disrespectful of the court, " a resident said.

Aamir, a shop owner near the Kashi Vishwanath temple, said, "If you want to divide two communities, then you can say anything. We believe in the court. Whatever will be the decision will be accepted, but ask them (Hindu side), will they accept?"

The Supreme Court on Friday, in its order on the Gyanvapi case, shifted the hearing to the District Court from the Civil Court.

Heavy security has been deployed at the place where Shivling was reportedly found, while Muslim devotees have been allowed to offer Namaz in the mosque.

The police are also taking care of the security arrangements outside the place where prayers are offered in the mosque. Everyone is checked and the suspects are also interrogated.

Meanwhile, the court-appointed Commission to conduct videographic survey of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex submitted its report to the court. The report said the members saw Hindu symbols like lotus, swastika, 'trishul' (trident), and 'bell shapes' in the building.

Former court commissioner Ajay Mishra, who conducted survey on May 6 and 7, has also presented his report, in which he claimed he found Hindu religious symbols and temple debris inside the Gyanvapi mosque.

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