After the Varanasi District Court on Monday rejected the challenge to the petition of Hindu devotees in the Gyanvapi Mosque case, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) said that the matter has crossed its "first hurdles" but added that it should not be seen as anyone's victory or defeat.
Five Hindu women had filed a petition seeking daily prayers before the idols on the Gyanvapi mosque's outer wall. The Muslim petitioners had challeged the maintainability of the Hindu devotees' plea, arguing that it was not maintainable under the Places of Worship Act 1991 which prohibits conversion of any place of worship and mandates the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.
Varanasi District Judge AK Vishvesh rejected the Muslim petitioners' challenge and ruled that the court would continue to hear the petition seeking the right to offer prayers. The next date of hearing in the case is September 22.
The VHP also called the court order "very satisfactory".
"The Varanasi court’s decision is very satisfactory. The first hurdle has been crossed. The Varanasi court has decided that the Varanasi suit is not injuncted by the Places of Worship Act. The application of the other party has been dismissed," said VHP working president Alok Kumar, noting that the court will now examine the matter on its merits, he noted.
"We do hope and look forward to a victory...The truth is with us," said Kumar, adding that that the court’s decision should be accepted with grace and calmness and it should not be interpreted in terms of victory or defeat.
"This a religious and spiritual matter," stressed Kumar.
After the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee had said the Gyanvapi mosque is a Waqf property and had questioned the maintainability of the plea of Hindu devotees, the district judge had last month reserved the order till September 12 in the communally sensitive matter.
(With PTI inputs)