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Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Why Are Petitioners Divided Over The Carbon Dating Claims?

Not only Muslims, a Hindu petitioner has also objected to the Carbon Dating, however, for different reasons.  

Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi
Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi Photo: Getty Images

Amidst the controversies over the plea requesting carbon dating of the ‘Shivling’, claimed to be found in the Masjid premises of Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex, the Masjid committee today submitted its objections to the court.

Citing the order of the Supreme Court that had asked the Varanasi District Magistrate to keep the structure safe, the Masjid committee claimed that carbon dating may violate the order. As the major claim of the Hindu petitioners is related to the worship of Shringar Gauri, the disputed structure has nothing to do with it, contends the Muslim petitioners.

It also claims that to keep the structure safe, neither any intervention from Archeological Department, nor any scientific examination is welcomed.

Hindu petitioners last week requested carbon dating of the claimed ‘Shivling’ that the Muslims side identified as a fountain connected to the ‘wazookhana’, a place where they perform the ritual ablution before Namaz. The Court asked for the response of the Masjid committee on September 29.

Division among Hindu Petitioners over Cardon Dating

However, all the Hindu petitioners are not on the same board pertaining to their plea on Carbon Dating of the presumed ‘Shivling’. Rakhi Singh, one of the five women who made the actual petition to the Varanasi court that later got transferred to district court claiming the rights for daily prayers, strongly opposed the proposal of carbon dating.

Pointing out that it amounts to sacrilege, she said, “Carbon dating of the Shivling is an anti-religion act and a mockery of the feelings and beliefs of all Sanatanis (Hindus)”. Echoing Singh’s stance, her representative Jitendra Singh Bisen who is also the chief of Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Singh termed the plea as ‘publicity stunt’.

“Demand for carbon dating of the Shivling is certainly not acceptable and is a mere publicity stunt by the counsel, representing the other plaintiffs in the case,” Bisen noted.

Interestingly, Bisen also reiterated almost the same claims of the Masjid committee and said that the case has nothing to do with the existence of Shivling as it deals totally with the right of daily prayers within the Masjid complex that is located next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple.

Flexing their undisputable faith on the presence of Shivling, Bisen continued, “We strongly believe that the Shivling existed there since inception and we don’t need any carbon dating to prove it.”

“Carbon dating, if done, would be disrespect to the Shivling and would be a mockery of the belief of all Sanatanis,” added Bisen.

However, negating that there is any split of opinion among the Hindu plaintiffs, Hari Shankar Jain representing the rest of four women said, “There are some people who think that conducting carbon dating would further damage the Shivling or it is against the religion, which is not true. The court is yet to decide on that front.”

Why is the Carbon Dating Proposed?

Receiving the petition of the five women who claimed their primary rights of daily prayers before the idols on the outer walls of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, the district court ordered a videography of the Mosque premises. Primarily the Mosque committee though submitted their objections to such survey, it was not sustained.

The survey report notably mentioned the discovery of a fountain like structure that could be called Shivling. The Hindu petitioners took over the evidence and claimed that the presence of the ‘Shivling’ proves Mughal King Aurungzeb’s demolition of a part of the Mandir to establish the Mosque.

Earlier on September 12, the court had ruled that the petition of Hindu devotees in the Gyanvapi Mosque case is maintainable, rejecting the challenge to the petition by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee. The Muslim petitioners had challenged the maintainability of the Hindu petitioners' 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.

In this context the carbon dating is one of the scientifically established ways to assign an age to the ‘found’ object. The court today has reserved its order for October 7. 

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