‘Gyanvapi Mosque now stands exposed, surrounded by Temples’, Muslims concerned over Kashi Vishwanath Corridor: Report


May 10, 2019

The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in Varanasi has been Narendra Modi’s dream project. The corridor, spread over an area of 39,000 square metres with an investment of Rs 700 crore, will link the ancient shrine and one of the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples to the famous ghats in Varanasi.

From the very beginning, the proposed corridor has attracted much criticism from various quarters. However, the Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh has been working relentlessly to realise the Prime Minister’s vision.

As the process to build the corridor was set in motion, huge swathes of buildings flanking the narrow lanes leading to ghats and temples were demolished. The clearing process has resulted in a discovery of 40 ancient temples in the area, which were until now obscured by the buildings and structures in the region. PM Modi has said that these temples will be preserved for public darshan.

Many residents were pleasantly surprised to find the existence of 40 temples which were hitherto concealed under the sprawling resident and commercial structures in the region. Most of them now appear to approve of the corridor and feel that the construction of the corridor will enable more Tourist visits and pave the way for modernisation of the city.

Now, it appears, Muslims in the area are concerned over the construction of the corridor and appear convinced that it could pave the path towards the demolition of the adjacent Gyanvapi Mosque, Times of India reported. The TOI report narrates an incident where a chhabootra was being demolished by authorities in October last year. The demolition prompted a mob to gather in the area which ultimately had to be stopped. Later, it was reconstructed. It has raised concerns among the Muslim community over the safety of the Mosque.

S.M. Yaseen, joint secretary of Anjuman Intezamiya Masajid (AIM), Varanasi, an administrative body of the Mosque, said, “Gyanvapi Mosque could meet the same fate as Babri,” TOI reported. “I remember the chant ‘Ayodhya toh ek jhaaki hai, Kashi, Mathura abhi baaki hai (Ayodhya is merely a glimpse, Kashi, Mathura now remain)’ which became popular among kar sewaks after Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished in 1992.”

Yaseen is quoted further as saying, “Until now, the shops and houses in narrow lanes shielded the mosque. Now it stands exposed, surrounded by Temples.” He adds, “Between 1991 and 1992, the area surrounding the mosque was cleared by the then BJP government led by Kalyan Singh for ‘beautification’ of Ayodhya.”

Gyanvapi Mosque was built by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after destroying the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The remnants of the ancient Hindu temple can be seen on the walls of the Gyanvapi mosque now. The temple was an earlier restoration of the original Kashi Vishwanath temple, which was destroyed and rebuilt several times in history. The current Kashi Vishwanath was built on a site adjacent to the Mosque in 1780.

The administration, however, says the concerns are unfounded. The District Magistrate insists that the Mosque is completely secure.

Source : OpIndia


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