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Saturday, March 02, 2024  
20 Shaban 1445  

India court allows Hindu community to pray in Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque

District authorities ordered to make arrangements within a week
A worker stands on a temple rooftop adjacent to the Gyanvapi Mosque in the northern city of Varanasi. Reuters
A worker stands on a temple rooftop adjacent to the Gyanvapi Mosque in the northern city of Varanasi. Reuters

An Indian court on Wednesday permitted Hindu worshippers to pray inside Gyanvapi mosque in the city of Varanasi.

The mosque was built in the 17th century by the Mughal empire in a city where Hindu community faithful from across the country cremate their loved ones by the Ganges river.

The court in Varanasi ruled that Hindu worshippers — who believe the mosque replaced a destroyed temple to the deity Shiva — could pray in the building’s basement.

Its verdict ordered district authorities to “make proper arrangements within the next seven days” to facilitate worshippers.

The decision is the latest in a long-running legal saga over Gyanvapi’s future.

This month, India’s official archaeological agency said a survey of the site appeared to corroborate the belief that it was originally home to a temple, according to local news reports.

Last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a grand inauguration ceremony in the nearby city of Ayodhya for a Hindu temple built on grounds once home to the centuries-old Babri mosque.

The prime minister described last week’s opening of the temple as “the advent of a new era”.

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