• The Allahabad High Court placed an interim stay on the proceedings in a lower court in the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple title dispute in Varanasi which had directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a comprehensive physical survey of the Gyanvapi mosque compound adjacent to the temple.
• The Gyanvapi Mosque is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
• It is said to have been constructed on the site of the Kashi Vishwanath temple which had been demolished by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1669.
• The Hindu faith’s representatives had already filed a petition to regain the Gyanvapi mosque’s land.
• A civil court in Varanasi has recently ordered a survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
• The ASI will determine if the Gyanvapi mosque was built on top of a ruined Hindu temple.
Claim of the plaintiffs:
• The plaintiffs claimed that on April 18, 1669, Emperor Aurangzeb then got the temple demolished with a farman (royal decree by the emperor) and constructed a mosque with the help of the ruins of the said temple.
• Since the shivling (idol) of the above said temple is self-existing and naturally arisen from deep inside the earth, hence even after the demolition, the Swaymbhu shivlinga of Lord Vishweshwar continues to exist along with the argha surrounding it at the very same place where it was prior to the demolition of the temple.
• The Places of Worship Act states that a place of worship’s religious nature must remain the same as it was on August 15, 1947.
• It states that no one shall convert any religious denomination or section’s place of worship into another denomination’s or section’s place of worship.
• Exemptions from the Act include: the Act will not apply to archaeological sites and ancient and historical monuments as these are protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958.
• The Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue was exempted from the Act.
Mains Paper 2: National
Prelims level: Gyanvapi Mosque
Mains level: Read the newsfeed