The Supreme Court on Friday extended its earlier order for the protection of the ‘Shivling’ discovered at Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi, ANI reported. The SC order came after the Hindu side said that the May 17 order of the apex court granting protection to the ‘Shivling’ area was expiring on November 12 and it needed to be extended.
“We direct that pending further orders, interim order dated May 17 shall continue to remain in operation,” a bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices Surya Kant and PS Narasimha said.
On May 17, the Supreme Court had passed an interim order directing the Varanasi district magistrate to ensure protection of the area inside the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex where a ‘Shivling’ was allegedly found in a videographic survey.
The apex court had also allowed Muslims to offer namaz in the Gyanvapi mosque.
On November 8, a Varanasi court postponed till November 14 its verdict on a separate petition seeking permission to allow worship of the ‘Shivling’ claimed by the Hindu side to have been found in the mosque complex.
However, the Muslim side has maintained that the object was part of the water fountain mechanism at the ‘wazookhana’ reservoir where devotees carry out ablutions before offering namaz.
On April 26, a lower court, hearing a plea by a group of five women seeking permission for daily worship of idols of Hindu deities on the mosque’s outer walls, ordered a videographic survey of the Gyanvapi complex. The Hindu side had claimed the ‘Shivling’ was found during the exercise.
The Supreme Court had transferred the case from the civil judge (senior division) to the district judge on May 20, saying looking at the “complexities” and “sensitivity” of the issue, it would be better if a senior judicial officer with an experience of over 25-30 years handles the case.
District judge AK Vishwesh is hearing another case demanding a survey of closed underground places in Gyanvapi premises. This case will be heard on November 11.
(With inputs from PTI)