Vedic chants and prayer bells echoed in Gyanvapi Masjid's southern cellar after 30 years. Varanasi district judge Ajaya Krishna Vishvesha permitted a priestly family to resume worship of Hindu deities there.
Apart from the plaintiff's family members and a priest from Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust, senior district officials, police, and Vedic scholar Ganeshwar Shastri Dravid were present during the post-midnight puja. Elaborate morning rituals, deity offerings (bhog), and afternoon aarti ensued -rituals once diligently performed by the Vyas family until the cellar's closure by the state administration in December 1993.
As evening aarti commenced, a sizable queue of devotees had formed outside the basement, eager for a glimpse of the presiding deity through a small window. However, the administration restricted entry to only members of Shailendra Vyas's family and the designated priest, Om Prakash Mishra.
In compliance with the district judge's order, a gate has been installed after creating a passage in the steel barricading of the Gyanvapi mosque,” said Varanasi district magistrate S Rajalingam, appointed receiver of the southern cellar.
HC refuses to stay puja
Meanwhile, Allahabad high court did not give any immediate relief to the Gyanvapi Masjid committee that had challenged the order of the Varanasi court allowing Hindu prayers in the southern cellar of the mosque. Justice Rohit Ranjan Agrawal passed the order while hearing an appeal filed by the Anjuman Intizamia Masajid Committee (AIMC) - which looks after the affairs of the Gyanvapi mosque - against the Varanasi district court’s order.