Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has said that referring to the Gyanvapi complex in Varanasi as a mosque will create a dispute, ANI reported.
He urged the Muslim community to accept that a “historical mistake” had taken place and offer a solution.
“What is a Trishul doing inside the mosque?” Adityanath asked. “There is a jyotirlinga, idols of deities, and every part of the structure screams this.”
He added: “I feel that a proposal should also come from the Muslim side accepting that there has been a historical mistake and that they should come up with a solution.”
As per Hindu beliefs, Jyotirlingas are places where the deity Shiva appeared as a column of light.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that Adityanath’s remarks amounted to “judicial overreach”.
“CM Yogi knows that the Muslim side has opposed the ASI [Archeological Survey of India] survey in the Allahabad High Court and the judgement will be given in a few days, still he gave such a controversial statement, this is judicial overreach...” he told ANI.
Four Hindu women have filed a petition seeking rights to worship inside the mosque compound. They had claimed that an image of Hindu deity Shringar Gauri exists at the mosque.
In May last year, an oval-shaped object was found during a survey of the mosque premises ordered by a Varanasi civil court. The Hindu litigants in the case claimed that the object was a shivling – a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva. However, the caretaker committee of the mosque claimed the object was a defunct fountainhead in the wazu khana, or ablution tank.
On May 17, the Supreme Court had directed that the spot be protected, but that Muslims should not be restricted from offering prayers.
Last week, a Varanasi court had ordered a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises by the Archeological Survey of India on a petition filed by Hindu litigants. The order was subsequently stayed by the Allahabad High Court till August 3. The High Court also reserved its verdict on a petition against the scientific survey.