Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee claimed Aurangzeb was not a cruel emperor and he did not demolish Adi Vishweshar Temple (Image: ET)

On May 22, Gyanvapi Mosque Committee (Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee) submitted an application before the Varanasi Court opposing a plea filed by Hindu Worshippers seeking a complete survey of the disputed structure. In its application, the Mosque Committee made some bizarre claims to whitewash the atrocities of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. They claimed Aurangzeb was not cruel. Furthermore, they said he did not demolish any Lord Adi Vishweshar Temple in Varanasi.

Notably, Hindu Worshippers in a plea sought an ASI survey of the entire disputed structure. In the plea, they stated old Lord Adi Vishweshar Temple was attacked and destroyed by a Muslim invader. Later, Raja Tondal Mal restored the temple in 1580 AD at the same place.

The Mosque Committee further claimed that there was no concept of two Kashi Vishwanath Temples in the holy city. They also objected to the term “invaders” used by the Hindu Worshippers and called it an attempt to instigate hate among Hindus and Muslims.

The application read, “The structure or building which is present on the spot, Masjid Alamgiri / Gyanvapi Masjid, has been there for thousands of years, it was a mosque yesterday and is still a mosque, and the Muslims of Varanasi and neighbouring districts, as a matter of right, without any restrictions, have been offering Namaz Panjgana and Namaz Zuma and Namaz Idaan.” The committee further refused to accept that a Shiva Linga was found inside the premises. They stated that it was a fountain.

The committee has urged the court to reject the plea filed by the Hindu Worshipers for the survey of the entire disputed structure. Furthermore, they claimed that it was not permissible under the law that evidence to be collected via a scientific probe.

In April 2021, Civil Judge, Varanasi, passed an order to the ASI to survey the mosque. The Muslim side filed a plea against it in the Allahabad High Court. The matter is sub-judice and the court had reserved orders in both after hearing the arguments. The Mosque Committee said in such a situation, a survey done by ASI on the same property cannot be ordered.

On May 22, it was reported that the Muslim side filed an objection to the Hindu Worshippers’ demand for a complete survey of the disputed structure in Varanasi. Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain representing Hindu Worshippers informed media that an application filed by the whole premises of the alleged mosque should be surveyed using Ground Penetrating Radar.

The court directed the Muslim side and UP Government to file objections by May 19. The applications were submitted and the next date of hearing was fixed on July 7.

Notably, on May 19, the Allahabad High Court permitted ASI to conduct carbon dating of Shiva Linga that was found during the survey in a disputed structure in Gyanvapi premises.

Auranzeb’s Farman to Destroy Lord Adi Vishweshar Temple

While the Mosque Committee claimed Aurangzeb did not destroy Lord Adi Vishweshar Temple, there is historic evidence of the same. In May 2022, OpIndia did a detailed report on the Farmans of Aurangzeb.

In 1669 CE, the ultimate assault on the Kashi Vishwanath Temple was carried out by the Mughal tyrant Aurangzeb. He demolished the temple and replaced it with the Gyanvapi masjid. The remains of the erstwhile mandir can still be seen in the foundation, the columns, and the rear part of the mosque.

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple complex, which stands today, is adjacent to the disputed mosque complex and where devotees can do puja and prayers, was built by the great Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.

In fact, the Islamic record of Maasir-i-Alamgiri states that on April 9, 1669, Aurangzeb had issued a ‘Farman’ decree, “to governors of all the provinces to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels and strongly put down their teachings and religious practices.”

The same is also mentioned in the Varanasi Gazetteer which was published in the year 1965. It is clearly stated on page number 57 that on April 9, 1669, Aurangzeb issued a decree to his governors to destroy the Hindu temples and schools in Kashi (Varanasi). The Kashi Vishwanath temple is just one of many similar temples destroyed by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in his absolute disdain for Hindu culture and faith. The Islamic record of Maasir-i-Alamgiri describes many other instances of Aurangzeb’s fanatical cruelty.