‘Some People Want Political Mileage from Gyanvapi Issue’
Maulana Abdul Batin Nomani, Mufti-e-Shahar, Banaras & general secretary, Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, says he has complete faith in Indian judicial system. His views:
The Gyanvapi mosque issue was essentially a religious one. It has been deliberately turned into a political issue through a litany of court cases dating back to 1991. Speaking about the recent order by the Varanasi District Judge, Anjuman Intezamia Masajid had staked claim that the present suit is not maintainable on account of the Places of Worship Act, 1991, and that when a certain law holds the field, the suit is bound to be dismissed.
However, Varanasi district court’s recent acceptance of the suit filed by five Hindu women seeking permission to pray at Gyanvapi Masjid complex not only violated the Places of Worship Act 1991 but has also reopened what the Supreme Court’s 2019 Ayodhya verdict was supposed to have closed forever—a debate on the religious character of places of worship.
AIM Varanasi, as a party to the case, is of the view that it will abide by the judiciary, whatever be the verdict. We have full faith in the judicial processes. Already a dozen litigations are pending in the courts over Gyanvapi mosque. We do not know what will be the due course in this matter but we will certainly challenge the order of Varanasi District Court in Allahabad High Court.
This recent legal dispute is a result of the survey of the Gyanvapi premises ordered by Varanasi court on petitions seeking all-year-long access to pray at a Hindu shrine Shringar Gauri located behind the western wall of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex (which is currently opened for prayers once a year). AIM had then sought leave of the Supreme Court that its application under Order 7 Rule 11 should be heard first by the Civil Judge.
Supreme Court, on 20 May 2022, ordered that the application filed by the Committee of AIM Management shall be decided on priority by the District Judge. So the question reverted back to the District Judge, Varanasi on whether the Gyanvapi mosque does conceal in its premises a “Shivling”.
Here, the things went wrong. We still have older generation who is witness to the fountain inside the mosque premises, which is being claimed as Shivling. Themedia played its part in politicising the issue and creating a fake debate. The original petition asking for the worship of Shringar Gauri got deflected and the whole debate moved in the wrong direction. Now we are in a legal quagmire.
Meanwhile, disturbing statements have been made by a few elements like Haji Mahboob, the petitioner in Babri Masjid case. I would like to appeal to all citizens not to pay heed to these divisive statements. Muslims of Benares should abide by the court of law.
At the same time, it is unfortunate that some people are raising questions on the judiciary itself. Judiciary is the supreme among the four pillars of our democracy. Any question on the judiciary is an indication that something is fundamentally flawed. We need to rectify it and restore the faith of people in the judiciary.
Whatever be the end result, I have been repeatedly asking Muslims of Benares to sit calm and accept the judicial verdict because the final verdict comes in the court of the Almighty. But we as responsible citizens of this country must maintain peace and abide by the constitutional values at any cost.
As told to Abhishek Srivastava