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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Gyanvapi, Vishwanath Dispute

In the wake of recent developments surrounding the Gyanvapi mosque and Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s statements have added fuel to the already contentious temple-mosque issue. The situation has escalated to a point where the matter is being dealt with through lawfare, involving legal proceedings and archaeological surveys, despite the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991. The recent Allahabad High Court verdict allowing the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to survey the Gyanvapi mosque complex further stirs the controversy

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In the wake of recent developments surrounding the Gyanvapi mosque and Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s statements have added fuel to the already contentious temple-mosque issue. The situation has escalated to a point where the matter is being dealt with through lawfare, involving legal proceedings and archaeological surveys, despite the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991. The recent Allahabad High Court verdict allowing the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to survey the Gyanvapi mosque complex further stirs the controversy. The court’s decision comes after a series of lawsuits and appeals filed in local courts, aiming to establish the Hindu antecedents of the Gyanvapi complex. This ongoing legal battle has raised questions about the 1991 law, which prohibits the conversion of places of worship that existed on August 15, 1947, into places of worship of a different religion.

The Supreme Court, in its landmark Ayodhya dispute judgment in 2019, upheld the 1991 law as a critical element of a secular State. It emphasised that the law prevents history from being used as a tool to oppress the present and future. However, despite this endorsement, the court’s silence on intervening in the Gyanvapi mosque complex litigation has left many perplexed. The mosque committee’s attempts to seek a stay on the survey through Supreme Court intervention were met with a transfer of their suit to the Varanasi district judge, delaying any definitive resolution. This perceived judicial pusillanimity at the highest level has emboldened Hindutva forces to pursue their interests through lawfare. The lower judiciary’s involvement has raised concerns about its impartiality and its potential to facilitate ground-level changes through extra-judicial means.

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In this context, it becomes imperative for the Supreme Court to take decisive action and apply the 1991 law, as it wholeheartedly endorsed in the Ayodhya judgment. By doing so, the court can curtail the misuse of lawfare and safeguard the secular fabric of the country. Any attempts to alter the ground realities through extra-judicial means must be thwarted to preserve the nation’s harmony and unity. The Gyanvapi mosque and Vishwanath temple dispute is more than a legal battle; it’s a test of India’s commitment to its secular ideals and pluralistic heritage. The judicial system must ensure that it does not succumb to pressures and maintain its integrity and fairness. At the same time, it is crucial for political leaders to exercise restraint and refrain from making statements that could further polarize communities and aggravate the situation. The need of the hour is for all stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue and seek amicable solutions that respect the sentiments and beliefs of all parties involved. The Gyanvapi mosque and Vishwanath temple hold deep historical and religious significance for their respective communities. As a nation, it is our responsibility to handle this sensitive matter with utmost care, ensuring that justice is served while upholding the principles of secularism and harmony.

The Supreme Court must assert its commitment to the 1991 law and address the Gyanvapi mosque and Vishwanath temple issue decisively. This would set a precedent for handling similar disputes and demonstrate the court’s dedication to maintaining India’s pluralistic ethos. We must tread cautiously and ensure that the temple-mosque issue does not become a tool for further discord but rather a stepping stone towards fostering unity and understanding.

 

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
Welcome to The Hills Times, your trusted source for daily news and updates in English from the heart of Assam, India. Since our establishment in 2000, we've been dedicated to providing timely and accurate information to our readers in Diphu and Guwahati. As the first English newspaper in the then undemarcated Karbi Anglong district, we've forged a strong connection with diverse communities and age groups, earning a reputation for being a reliable source of news and insights. In addition to our print edition, we keep pace with the digital age through our website, https://thehillstimes.in, where we diligently update our readers with the latest happenings day by day. Whether it's local events, regional developments, or global news, The Hills Times strives to keep you informed with dedication and integrity. Join us in staying ahead of the curve and exploring the world through our lens.
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