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Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Varanasi Court Rejects Hindu Devotees' Plea For Carbon Dating Of 'Shivling'

An object found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque during its court-mandated videography survey was claimed to be a 'Shivling' by the Hindu petitioners. Four of the five petioners had filed a petition seeking carbon dating of the object. Carbon dating is a scientific process used commonly in archaeology to understand the age of an object.

Gyanvapi Mosque
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The Varanasi District Court on Friday rejected a petition of Hindu devotees seeking carbon dating of 'Shivling' allegedly found inside Gyanvapi Mosque.

The Court ruled that the plea for 'scientific investigation' cannot be allowed since the Supreme Court has ordered the sealing of the place where the 'Shivling' was found, according to legal news website Lawbeat

An object found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque during its court-mandated videography survey was claimed to be a 'Shivling' by the Hindu petitioners. Four of the five Hindu petioners in the case had filed a petition seeking carbon dating of this object. Carbon dating is a scientific process used commonly in archaeology to understand the age of an object.

Arguments on the plea were completed on Tuesday. The Gyanvapi Mosque committee had opposed the plea for carbon dating. The fifth Hindu petitioner had not participated in the plea for carbon dating over fears that the process would damage the 'Shivling'.

The Hindu petitioners seeking carbon dating have said they would go to higher courts to pursue their cause.

"We will move to Supreme Court against this order and challenge it there. I cannot announce the date as of now, but we will soon challenge this order in Supreme Court," said Advocate Vishnu Jain, appearing for the petitioners.

Gyanvapi case, carbon dating plea explained

Five Hindu women have filed a petition seeking rights for daily prayers before the idols on the outer walls of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi. During the initial hearing of the case, a Varanasi court —from where the case was later transferred to District Court— ordered videography survey of the mosque compound

During the survey, it was claimed that a 'Shivling' was found close to the "wazookhana" —a small reservoir used by Muslims to perform ritual ablutions before offering namaz— in the mosque premises. It is this 'Shivling' whose carbon dating was sought by four of the five original petitions. It was opposed by the mosque committee.

One of the five petitioners has not joined the plea for carbon dating out of concerns that such a process might damage the 'Shivling'. Thhe advocate for petioners had said there would be no damage to the structure during carbon dating. 

What has Gyanvapi Mosque Committee said?

Citing the original plea by the Hindu women seeking permission for yearlong praying inside the shrine, the mosque committee previously had objected to the scientific investigation plea, saying that it had nothing to do with its structure.

On September 12, the Varanasi district judge dismissed a challenge by the mosque committee that said the case by the Hindu women for year-long worship inside the mosque complex had no legal standing. Their challenge was rejected on all three counts that they had cited including the 1991 law that freezes the status of a place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.

The petitioners didn't want ownership, just the right to worship, the court ruled.

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Gyanvapi case last hearing

In the last hearings, advocate Mumtaz Ahmed, appearing for the Muslim petitioners, said they told the court that carbon dating of the object cannot be done.

If the object gets damaged in the name of carbon dating, it amounts to the defiance of the order of the Supreme Court, said Ahmed.

Earlier, the Muslim petitioners had contended that the Supreme Court had asked the Varanasi District Magistrate to keep the object safe. In such a situation, getting it examined cannot be justified. They also said the original case is about the worship of Shringar Gauri while the structure in the mosque has nothing to do with it.

In such a condition, neither any investigation can be done by the Archaeological Department nor a legal report be called after conducting a scientific investigation, according to them.

(With PTI inputs)

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