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Thu Feb 1, 2024, 03:21 PM Feb 2024

Hindus can worship in contested mosque, Indian court rules

Source: The Guardian

Hindus can worship in contested mosque, Indian court rules

Fears decision on Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi could increase religious tensions and inspire more claims

Hannah Ellis-Petersen in Delhi and Shaikh Azizur Rahman in Kolkata
Thu 1 Feb 2024 11.42 GMT
Last modified on Thu 1 Feb 2024 12.37 GMT

An Indian court has ruled that Hindus can worship inside a contested mosque, a verdict that it is feared will increase religious tensions and galvanise further claims against other Muslim places of worship.

Gyanvapi mosque, in the holy city of Varanasi, was built in the 17th century by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and has been in use by Muslims for prayer ever since.

Since 2021 the mosque has been subjected to dozens of legal petitions by Hindus who are fighting for the right to pray there, claiming it is the site of an ancient Hindu temple and Hindu deities were present there. They also claimed Hindu priests had worshipped in the mosque cellar until 1993.

The mosque committee has been fighting the case, arguing that it has been used solely by Muslims for hundreds of years and is protected by the Places of Worship Act. The law, enacted shortly after India’s independence, froze the status of all religious places of worship as they existed on 15 August 1947 and prohibits their conversion to any other faith.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/01/hindus-worship-contested-mosque-indian-court-gyanvapi

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