While the Varanasi Court gave seven days to resume puja at a cellar in the basement of Gyanvapi complex, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh administration made arrangements by the next day of the court order.
Consequently, members of a Hindu priest's family started praying at the disputed site on Thursday (1 February), 30 years after it was sealed on the orders of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The Varanasi district court yesterday allowed the Hindu side to offer prayers at 'Vyas Ka Tehkhana' inside the Gyanvapi complex. The 'Vyas ka Tehkhana' (Vyas's cellar) is located right in front of Lord Nandi at the Kashi Vishwanath temple complex.
The Gyanvapi structure has four 'tehkhanas' (cellars) in the basement out of which one is still in possession of the Vyas family who used to live there.
Till November 1993, puja used to be conducted in the basement. However, the Hindu side claimed, that the then-state government stopped the worship and prayers in December 1993, and also removed the priests who conducted the puja there.
After the court's order, Hindu devotees started reaching the disputed site to pray in the cellar late at night, according to NDTV. Members of a Hindu outfit, Rashtriya Hindu Dal pasted the 'mandir' (temple) word on a signage near the site.
Heavy force was deployed to prevent any untoward incident as the puja started around 3 am today. However, the mosque committee has pledged to challenge the district court's order in Allahabad High Court.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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