Sort out ‘wuzu’ facilities: SC to Varanasi DM, Gyanvapi panel | India News


NEW DELHI: Nearly a year after a ‘shivling‘ in the ablution area of Gyanvapi mosque was sealed off, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Varanasi district magistrate and the management committee of Anjuman Intezamia Masjid to meet on Tuesday to provide washroom facilities to Muslims offering prayers in the mosque during Ramzan.
The court’s directive came after solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the UP government, argued that the facility being sought could not be provided within the “temple” complex. The committee members and the district magistrate could meet and decide where the washroom facilities could be provided, but it would not be within the temple complex, Mehta argued.
A big ‘shivling’ was discovered on May 16 last year during a trial court ordered survey inside the ‘wuzu’ area of the mosque, considered the original Vishwanath temple in Kashi. On the same day, a Varanasi civil judge had ordered the district magistrate to seal off and bar entry of any person to the said area. The judge had placed individual responsibility on the DM, police commissioner and area CRPF commandant for protection and preservation of the sealed area.
On May 17, the SC had tasked the Varanasi DM alone “to ensure that the area where the ‘shivling’ is stated to have been found shall be duly protected”. It had said there would be no restriction on Muslims from going to other areas of the mosque. On May 20, the SC had extended the interim order till disposal of the Muslim side’s objection to suits filed for survey and worship inside the mosque.
On Monday, senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the mosque management committee, told the SC that Muslim devotees were facing difficulties during Ramzan as washroom facilities near the ablution area (where the ‘shivling’ was found) also had been sealed off. He said the district administration should provide washroom facilities in and around the prayer area inside the mosque.
A bench of CJI D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala asked the meeting to take place on Tuesday and ordered that if an amicable solution was found in the meeting with the district magistrate, then the latter would forthwith implement it without waiting for the SC’s approval.

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