Gyanvapi Case: Setback for Hindu Side as Court Rejects Plea for Scientific Probe of ‘Shivling’

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The purported 'Shivling' was found earlier this year during a video survey carried out in the Gyanvapi mosque complex on orders of a lower court.

VARANASI — In a jolt to Hindu petitioners, a Varanasi court, on Friday, rejected the petition seeking carbon dating of the purported ‘Shivling’ found in the Gyanvapi mosque complex.

Hindu petitioners said that they would study the verdict and then decide whether to approach the high court.

The petitioners had claimed that the ‘Shivling’ was found earlier this year during a video survey carried out in the Gyanvapi mosque complex on orders of a lower court in response to a petition seeking permission for year-long prayers at a shrine inside the mosque complex by five Hindu women.

The Hindu side demanded carbon dating and other scientific tests of the Shivling-like structure.

Carbon dating is a scientific process that ascertains the age of an archaeological object or archaeological finds.

The Gyanvapi Masjid committee had opposed the carbon dating plea filed by the Hindu side.

Last month, four of the five Hindu women petitioners filed a plea seeking “scientific investigation” on the ‘Shivling’.

They contended that it was necessary to determine its age. The women have claimed that ancient idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses are located inside the mosque.

The mosque committee objected to scientific investigation, arguing that the case was about worshipping at a shrine inside the mosque and had nothing to do with its structure. The object being called a ‘Shivling’ is actually a “fountain”, they argued.

Last week, the court asked if the purported ‘Shivling’ can be made a part of the case and whether a scientific investigation can actually be ordered.

Vishnu Shankar Jain, lead advocate for Hindu women, told reporters that he tried to convince the court on both counts.

“We said two things – that in our prayer we asked for rights to pray before visible and invisible deities inside the mosque complex. The Shivling was earlier covered by water and when the water was removed it became a visible deity and so it is part of the suit,” he said.

Earlier this year, a lower court in Varanasi ordered the filming of the centuries-old mosque based on the women’s petition. The videography report, controversially leaked by the petitioners, claimed a ‘Shivling’ was found in a pond used for ‘Wuzu’ or the mandatory purification rituals before Muslim prayers.

The Gyanvapi mosque, located in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is one of the several mosques that Hindu hardliners believe were built on the ruins of temples.

It was one of the three temple-mosque rows, besides Ayodhya and Mathura, which the BJP raised in the eighties and nineties, that gained national prominence. — IANS (Inputs added)

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