Indian Court Permits Hindus to Pray Inside Contested Mosque in Varanasi


A photo from shows an Indian court allowing Hindu worshippers to pray inside a mosque in Varanasi, which has been a sensitive religious dispute. The Gyanvapi mosque, built by the Mughal Empire in the 17th century, has been sought after by Hindu activists to reclaim for their religion. The court ruled that Hindu worshippers could pray in the building’s basement and ordered district authorities to make proper arrangements within the next seven days to facilitate worshippers. The official archaeological agency said a survey of the site seemed to confirm that it was originally a Hindu temple. This comes as right-wing Hindu groups have laid claim to several Muslim sites of worship, including the Babri mosque, which was torn down in 1992, sparking sectarian riots. The construction of a Hindu temple on the site was permitted in 2019, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to it as “the advent of a new era.” Calls for India to enshrine Hindu supremacy have grown louder since Modi took office in 2014, causing anxiety among the country’s Muslim minority.


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