Puja begins in Gyanvapi basement from the night of 31st January

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) – 31 years later, Puja rituals have finally begun in the Vyas basement of Gyanvapi after the District Court’s order. On 31st January at around 4 p.m., the Court allowed performing puja post which, the Collector made arrangements. Puja and Shayan aarti were performed at around 11 p.m. Puja was performed by placing a murti in the basement. Shri Ganesh aarti and Shri Lakshmi aarti were performed by lighting lamps before the murti. Other sacred symbols were also worshipped, including the ‘Trishul’ on the basement wall. Barriers and steel fences placed on the way to the basement have been removed.

Madan Mohan Yadav, advocate of the Hindu party, said that the Court had given 7 days to the administration to make arrangements for the puja and aarti of the murti in the Vyas basement, the administration made arrangements within few hours and then puja and aarti were performed.

Hindu parties will perform aarti 5 times a day

Currently, common citizens are not allowed to visit and perform puja here, only Hindu parties fighting the case are allowed to perform puja and aarti by the administration.

Arrangements were made overnight

On 31st January at around 4 p.m., the Varanasi District Court allowed performing the puja inside Gyanvapi. After this, Collector S Rajalingam reached Kashi Vishwanath Dham along with the Police and administrative officials at 7 p.m. The Collector and Additional Collector held a meeting with the temple administration. At 8 p.m., the officials inspected the basement of Gyanvapi from outside. At 9 p.m., the administration closed the entry of visitors from gate number 4 after the number of visitors to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple reduced. The work of removing the barricades on the eastern side of the temple started around 9:30 p.m. in Police security. All the barricades were cleared within an hour. After this, the employees of Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust cleaned the Vyas basement. The puja material was brought to the basement by the trust. 5 pujaris of the trust were called and prayers were offered. Commissioner of Varanasi, Chief Executive Officer of Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Acharya Ganeshwar Shastri Dravid and Pandit Omprakash Mishra were present in the basement during the puja.Omprakash Mishra, pujari of Vishwanath Temple, performed the puja under the guidance of Ganeshwar Shastri Dravid. Omprakash Mishra is the pujari of the Garbha Griha of Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Charanamrit (water from the Deity’s feet) and prasad were also given to some people after the puja. Acharya Ganeshwar Shastri Dravid performed pratishthapanaof (installed) the Kalash. Shri Gauri, Shri Ganesh and Shri Lakshmi principle were invoked by chanting specific mantras. All the Deities were remembered and worshiped in the court of the puradhipati. Aarti was performed by offering naivedya and fruits to the Deities. Collector of Varanasi S. Rajalingam said that he had followed the Court order.

Kashi VishwanathTemple exists in the Gyanvapi basement – Jitendra Nath Vyas

Jitendra Nath Vyas from the Vyas family said, “We are very happy to have received the right to perform puja and aarti. We performed puja in the basement of Gyanvapi. Our family members, 5 pujaris and Commissioner were present on this occasion. There is a temple of Kashi Vishwanath in the basement. It was and remains a Swayambhu temple. Even if you cover it, it is still a temple. There are figures of swastika and lotus on the walls. This is a Hindu temple.”

Court’s decision is wrong – Asaduddin Owaisi

Asaduddin Owaisi responded, “The decision taken by the judge is completely wrong. It is in violation to the ‘Places of Worship Act 1991’. After 30 years, puja has been allowed in the basement of the mosque.Where are the murtis there ? Who saw them ?6th December (Babari demolition) could be repeated at the Gyanvapi. While giving judgment on the Shriram Temple case, the Court stated that the judgment was given on the basis of faith. Now these things are going to continue in the future.The Court could have given 30 days to challenge this decision to the mosque management committee. Now it can appeal against this wrong decision in the Allahabad High Court.”

Editorial Perspective

In 1993, a verbal order of the then Government had banned puja here which was ongoing since 1551. Would Owaisi ever call it a wrong decision ?