Muslim leaders say Varanasi court infringing on SC, Lok Sabha

Lucknow, November 19 (KMS): Muslim leaders in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have termed the Varanasi district court orders as an “infringement on the powers of the Indian Supreme Court and Parliament which have made it crystal clear that no further changes could be made at religious sites as per the Places of Worship Act”.

Maulana Khaliq Ahmad Khan, executive member of All India Milli Council and former plaintiff in Babri Masjid case, said, “The objection of the Muslim side in the Gyanvapi case was based on the Places of Worship Act, which restricted any change in religious places. It is an Act passed by the Indian Parliament, confirmed by a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court. And now, a district court is encroaching upon the power of the SC and Parliament.”

Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali of Islamic Centre of India said, “For the last 350 years, Muslims have been offering namaz at Gyanvapi mosque and suddenly they are being asked to stop the practice. The Places of Worship Act passed by Parliament and held by the Supreme Court cannot be ignored. I demand that both Hindu and Muslim parties should settle the matter outside the court with dialogue.”

Maulana Yasoob Abbas, general secretary of the All India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board, has also called for an out-of-court settlement of the matter.

Hindu groups have filed a petition in the court that seeks access to pray inside the Gyanvapi mosque compound, claiming that it was built on top of the ruins of a medieval-era temple, which was razed by a Mughal emperor. The Hindutva groups are demanding demolition of several mosques across India on the same claims.

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