The decision was taken at a meeting of prominent members of the Muslim community with clerics in Varanasi on Thursday, due to the puja performed by Hindu worshippers in the southern cellar of the mosque.
Shahar-e-Mufti and AIMC general secretary Maulana Abdul Batin Nomani, who chaired the meeting, issued the appeal that said ‘As you all are aware of the matter that on the basis of the order of the court of the district judge, Varanasi, the district administration has hastily made arrangements for worship in the southern basement of Gyanvapi Masjid, Banaras, and the worship has also started there.’
‘In view of this situation, a meeting of office bearers of AIMC with the Ulema (clerics) and prominent people of the community in the city was held. In the meeting, a decision was taken that on Friday, all shops and businesses will be kept closed in a peaceful manner, and people of the community should remain busy in prayers while staying in their respective cities and areas,’ the appeal further said
‘In connection with the closing (of shops and businesses), everyone is instructed to maintain complete peace and tranquility and avoid going anywhere without any reason,’ read the appeal.
All the people of the community were also instructed to offer Jumma Namaz (Friday prayers).
Women should stay in their homes and offer prayers; marriage and other rituals should be organized with simplicity,’ read the appeal by Nomani.
The appeal comes after a priest designated by the Kashi Vishwanath temple performed prayers at a cellar known as ‘Vyas Ji Ka Tehkhana’ inside the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi on Thursday.
The prayers were performed after a district court ordered the local administration to unseal the premises, which was sealed in 1993, on the orders of the then Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh government.
Pictures from inside the cellar showed giant stones placed evenly to make a platform, on which Hindu deities, draped in red cloth were placed with a saffron cloth.
According to reports, aarti was performed inside the cellar, five times a day by the priests, devotees are not allowed inside the cellar.
The AIMC moved the Supreme Court on Thursday challenging the orders of the district court.
The apex court, however refused to hear the matter on an urgent basis and asked the mosque committee to approach the Allahabad High Court.
As per the Supreme Court order, senior advocate SFA Naquvi mentioned the matter before the Acting Chief Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta in the High Court.
Justice Gupta asked the lawyer to move the listing via registrar.
Multiple applications by Hindu plaintiff seeking worship rights inside the Gyanvapi mosque dispute are pending in the Varanasi district court.
In one of the pleas, the plaintiffs have also sought the removal of the mosque. While dealing with one of the cases, the district court had ordered the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque to ascertain if there was a temple before building of the present structure, much like in the Babri Masjid case, on which site a new Ram temple has been built.
The ASI, in its report, maintained that there existed a large Hindu temple before the construction of the existing structure, that is the Gyanvapi mosque.
Allahabad high court refuses stay on ‘puja’ order
The Allahabad high court granted time till February 6 for the AIMC to amend its pleadings to include a challenge to a January 17 order, consequent to which the January 31 order was passed, Bar and Bench reported.
The matter will be heard next once this is done.
This article has been updated.
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