Gyanvapi Mosque: Hindus vs Muslims: Who is fanning communal flames? | UnBreak the News with Prema Sridevi

Gyanvapi Mosque: Hindus vs Muslims | Mandir vs Masjid | Who is fanning communal flames in India?

By The Probe
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For many weeks now, the Gyanvapi Mosque: Hindus vs Muslims debate has been raging in India. What started off as a matter related to the Gyanvapi mosque soon turned into an issue concerning the Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, Jama Masjid and many mosques and monuments across the country. Today, some of these matters are being heard at various courts, including the Supreme Court. Who benefits from this controversy? And who is at a loss? Prema Sridevi UnBreaks this News for you.

Produced below are the abridged version of the transcripts of Unbreak the News with Prema Sridevi | Episode 60 titled – Gyanvapi Mosque: Hindus vs Muslims: Who is fanning communal flames? 

For many weeks now, India has been embroiled in a heated controversy revolving around the Gyanvapi Mosque: Hindus vs Muslims debate. What began as a dispute over the Gyanvapi Mosque, situated adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, soon escalated into a nationwide controversy. Religious organisations jumped into the fray, fueling communal tensions, and today, the matter is being heard in various courts, including the Supreme Court. The question on everyone's mind is: Who benefits from this controversy, and who stands to lose? Let's delve into the intricacies of this contentious issue.

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The Gyanvapi Mosque controversy was triggered when a Varanasi court directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to investigate the mosque's structure. Hindu petitioners filed multiple petitions before the Supreme Court, Allahabad High Court, and the Varanasi Court, arguing that the mosque was built by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after demolishing the 16th-century Kashi Vishwanath temple. Surprisingly, this issue is not new; the first petition related to the matter was filed in 1991 in the Varanasi court, seeking permission for Hindu worship on the Gyanvapi mosque premises. However, the matter resurfaced in 2022, prompting questions about its revival.

One of the key turning points in the Gyanvapi Mosque controversy was the alleged discovery of a 12-foot Shivling (a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva) in the tubewell of the mosque during an Archaeological Survey of India survey. This finding further intensified the debate. Media reports sensationalised the issue by highlighting claims made by certain Hindu groups about a stolen diamond atop the Shivling, adding more fuel to the fire.

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The Gyanvapi Mosque: Hindus vs Muslims controversy's focus later shifted to other historical monuments. Claims emerged about locked rooms in the Taj Mahal's basement containing Hindu idols. A writ petition was filed in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, asserting that the Taj Mahal was originally a Shiva temple known as Tejo Mahalaya. Additionally, Rajasthan BJP MP Diya Kumari claimed that the Taj Mahal's location once housed a palace belonging to the Jaipur royal family. These claims, although contested and dismissed by courts, contributed to the communal polarisation.

The mandir vs masjid controversy didn't stop there. In Delhi, another petition sought the restoration of 27 temples allegedly destroyed to construct the Qutub Minar complex. The ASI confirmed the historical fact of temple destruction but emphasised that Qutub Minar is now a protected monument, and no temple can be revived within its complex. Similar claims and counterclaims surfaced in Karnataka regarding the Jamia Masjid mosque in Srirangapatna and the Malali Market mosque in Mangalore, adding further complexities to the nationwide debate.

Political parties have been accused of exploiting the Gyanvapi Mosque controversy for their vested interests. With state and national elections on the horizon, politicians have used the issue to play vote bank politics. However, the consequences of such a divisive narrative could be dire, as history has shown in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition, which led to communal riots and bomb blasts. 

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Amidst the heated Gyanvapi Mosque: Hindus vs Muslims debate, India's laws must be considered. The Places of Worship Act of 1991 prohibits the conversion of places of worship, and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958 safeguards the character of protected monuments. The government must ensure the effective implementation of these laws to protect the rights of its citizens and the country's rich heritage.

As the Gyanvapi Mosque: Hindus vs Muslims controversy continues to unfold, it remains crucial for all stakeholders to approach the matter with sensitivity and respect historical facts. India's unity and secular fabric must not be sacrificed on the altar of electoral gains. It is imperative for the nation to foster an environment of harmony and dialogue, ensuring that the diversity and pluralism that define India are preserved for generations to come.

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