Gyanvapi Mosque Dispute Update: One of five petitioners to withdraw suit, other four to continue legal battle

Rakhi Singh, the only Delhi resident among the five women petitioners, had filed a petition in a Varanasi court in 2021. The other four petitioners- Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak belong to Varanasi.  All of the five women filed a petition to seek permission to worship daily Maa Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman and Nandi located on the outer wall of the Gyanvapi mosque. Additionally, they want the caretakers of the mosque to not cause any hindrance in the process of worship at the disputed site.

One of the five petitioners, Rakhi Singh,  in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple –Gyanvapi Mosque dispute  has decided to withdraw herself from the case, her advocate Hari Shankar Jain told The Indian Express.  

Rakhi Singh, the only Delhi resident among the five women petitioners, had filed a petition in a Varanasi court in 2021. The other four petitioners- Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak belong to Varanasi.  All of the five women filed a petition to seek permission to worship daily Maa Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman and Nandi located on the outer wall of the Gyanvapi mosque.  Additionally, they want the caretakers of the mosque to not cause any hindrance in the process of worship at the disputed site.  They want to worship Maa Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman and Nandiji in the ‘old temple complex situated at settlement Plot No. 9130’.

Advocate Hari Shankar Jain is representing these women in the court. He made the announcement regarding the withdrawal of Rakhi Singh from the case. However, he added that the other four will continue the legal fight in the Gyanvapi mosque dispute.

“She is withdrawing but that will not affect our case. The other four will continue with the legal proceedings. There must be some reason if she is withdrawing,” said advocate Jain.

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However,  Rakhi Singh was herself not there to speak on the issue, to which her advocate cited ‘security concerns’ . The other four petitioners were also not there to talk on the issue with the media.

The dispute made headlines following a court order that  called for videography and survey of the disputed site. The defendants of the case, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee filed an application in the Varanasi court asking the replacement of Ajai Kumar, accusing him of being biased.  

On April 8, a civil court in Varanasi ordered the videography and survey of the Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal at the disputed site.  Challenging the local court’s order a petition was filed on April 21, in the Allahabad High Court by the caretakers of the Masjid. However the high court rejected the petition.

Eventually, On April 26, the Varanasi court reiterated its order.  The Survey team on Friday began its work at the disputed site with heavy security.

The defendants claim that the petitioners should first identify the plot. “They should first tell the court where exactly is this plot that they are talking about. We had asked the Advocate Commissioner to identify plot No. 9130 before they began the survey, but he did not listen to us. They should first clarify where this plot is,” said a mosque official.

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Currently,  Hindus are only allowed to worship Shringar Gauri only on the fourth day of Chaitra Navaratra.