Sudhir Tripathi, the advocate representing the women plaintiffs in the Gyanvapi Mosque case, responds to the views of Mufti-e-Shahar, Banaras, Maulana Abdul Nomani
Gyanvapi mosque case is a long running dispute. There have been claims and counterclaims about the structure between Hindus and Muslims. However, there is no dispute among historians that it was built on the site where a temple existed. Currently, at the centre of the controversy is the videography survey which showed a stone structure, which Hindus say is a Shivling and Muslims say is a fountain.
A law of court works on the principle of viable evidences, backed by science. Therefore, our stand is that a carbon-dating of the stone structure be done to establish its age. This is a simple solution. If the structure is a fountain then why are the defendants uncomfortable with its carbon dating?
TheMufti-e-Shahar, Banaras Maulana Abdul Batin Nomani has commented on your website that he has complete faith in judiciary. But he has been contradicting his own stand from day one. First, he claimed that the case is not maintainable and is bound to be dismissed but later he said he will challenge the order of the Varanasi district court in the Allahabad High Court.
It is clear why he is in a dilemma. On one hand, he is calling upon the ‘people of Benaras’ (read Muslims) to abide by the law but one the other hand he says the final verdict will be in the court of the Almighty.
The Hindu petitioners have demanded for Pooja (prayers), Darshan (sighting), and Sanrakshan (protection) of the Shivling and to substantiate our claims they are ready for a carbon dating of the structure. If it’s a fountain, I plead the defendants to please come up with proofs like its water inlet, design, etc. Let us use scientific methods to verify our claims. There are numerous pieces of evidence like the holy Trishul (trident) or mantras and shlokas inscribed on the walls, which clearly back our demand.
The last prayers were offered in 1991 and since then our deity is locked behind the doors and a huge battery of security personnel has been put on guard. A videography survey has been conducted earlier this year and we are quite confident of its outcome.
The devotees only want to offer prayers to Shringar Gauri which stands on the compound of the disputed Gyanvapi complex as they used to until 1991 and for that, we are moving in the right direction.
If the excesses of the past can be rectified in a harmonious, lawful manner, it will only go to strengthen the communal amity in Benaras. Our history books clearly state that the Gyanvapi Mosque complex was built over the ruins of the desecrated old Shiva Temple by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. There is disagreement over the reason for destruction of the temple but not about the act.
Even today, parts of this ancient temple are clearly visible on the outer walls of the mosque. From afar, the statues of the bull Nandi and Maa Shringar Gauri can be seen. We don’t want to get involved in any kind of petty disputes as the issue is been unnecessarily politicized for decades and curtains should fall on it once and for all.
As told to Rajat Rai