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Dhananjay Mahapatra | TNN | New Delhi | May 23, 2022:: Five Hindu women plaintiffs have told the Supreme Court that entire Gyanvapi mosque land belonged to Kashi Vishwanath temple and cited the British government’s trial court statement repudiating a Muslim’s 1936 suit for a declaration that the mosque land was a wakf property.
In an affidavit responding to the petition by Committee of Management, Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, Varanasi, seeking quashing of survey of Gyanvapi mosque, the plaintiffs through advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain said the British government had rightly taken a stand that the land belonged to the temple because, as it was never a wakf property, the Muslims cannot claim it to be mosque.
The plaintiffs said, “Historians have confirmed that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had issued ‘farman’ on April 9, 1669 for demolition of the temple of Adi Visheshwar (Kashi Vishwanath) at Varanasi. There is nothing on record to establish that the then ruler or any subsequent ruler has passed any order to create a Waqf over the land in question or for handing over the land to any Muslim or body of Muslims.”
“A mosque can be constructed only over the property dedicated by waqif, who should be the rightful owner of the property. Construction raised under the orders of any Muslim ruler or by any Muslim over the land of a temple cannot be construed as mosque,” they said.
The mosque management committee had claimed through senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi that Muslims have been performing wuzu and offering namaz at the mosque since time immemorial or at least 500 years while seeking Muslims’ access to the sealed wuzu khana where purportedly a Shivling was discovered recently during a court-ordered survey.
The plaintiffs said, “Any super structure created over the temple land, by Muslims, can will be only a structure and cannot be regarded as a mosque… Deity Adi Visheshwar is continuing as de jure owner of the entire land of Settlement Plot No 9130, 9131 and 9132 in Mauza Shahar Khas, Tahsil and District Varanasi. The land does not belong to any Muslim, body of Muslim or Waqf board,” they said.
“Without impleading a Hindu party, one Deen Mohd had filed civil suit 62 of 1936 making the secretary of state for India through District Magistrate, Benares, and Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, Benares, through secretary, for granting a declaration that the Plot bearing No. 9130, measuring 1 Bigha 9 Biswa and 6 Dhurs together with enclosure all round described in the plaint, was Waqf in possession of that plaintiff and other Musalmans had right to say their prayers specially Alvida prayers and exercise other religious rights,” they said.
In the suit, on behalf of the Secretary of State for India in Council, a written statement was filed refuting the plaint allegations. Annexing a copy of the statement on behalf of secretary of state with their affidavit, the plaintiff’s quoted it – “the idols and the temple which stand there exist since long before the advent of the Mohammadan Rule in India.”
In paragraph 11, the British government had said – “It is submitted that the non-Muslims have been using the land for their religious purposes as a matter of right and have got a right of way over it.” In Paragraph 12, it had said – “The land in question was never stamped with the character of ‘Waqf’ land. It was never dedicated to God, nor could it have been dedicated and God has no proprietary interest.
” It had further said that – “The Mohammadans of that time or for the matter of that Aurangzeb himself was not the owner of the site in which the old temple of Vishwanath existed and which was demolished by Aurangzeb owing to the religious antipathy, hence it could not have been dedicated according to the true spirit of the Mohammadan faith.”
The plaintiffs said, “The deity will not lose its rights only for the reason that during foreign rule the temple was substantially damaged as the right of the deity over the property is never lost and the right of worshippers to perform pooja of the deity and the Asthan is protected under Hindu Law. They also cited the SC’s 1997 judgment as well as extracts from Skand and Shiv Puranas on Kashi Vishwanath temple to support their claim.
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