The Gyanvapi Masjid committee in Varanasi handed over a 1,700 square feet separate plot of land outside Masjid complex to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor project in exchange of another plot.
The plot is located 15 metres outside the mosque complex, and is said to be equal in value to the one it was exchanged for. The land given by the mosque measures 1,700 square feet compared to the 1,000 square feet given to it in exchange.
SM Yasin, joint secretary of the Anjuman Intezamia mosque and the caretaker of the Gyanvapi Masjid, told The Indian Express that the plot handed over was not connected to the mosque and is separate.
An Exchange Deal
Speaking to The Hindu, Chief Executive Officer of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust Sunil Verma said that an exchange deal was carried out with the Uttar Sunni Central Waqf Board. “It has nothing to do with the mosque. It [the plot] was outside the periphery of the mosque,” Verma said.
It should be noted that exchange was done as per the value of the land, and not the size.
Kashi Temple Needed a Bigger Security Setup
Since the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor is coming up near the complex, the authorities felt that a bigger security setup would be required at the location, because the passage that leads to the temple was not big enough.
Meanwhile, Verma has argued that the plot was surrounded by the temple property on all four sides.
On 8 April, a local court in Varanasi ordered an ASI survey of the disputed Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex to find out whether the religious structure standing at present at the disputed site is a "superimposition, alteration or addition or there is a structural overlapping of any kind, with or over, any religious structure”.
The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board had challenged the order in the Allahabad High Court, arguing that such a suit is barred under provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. It is worthy noting that The Places of Worship Act was upheld by a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya judgment.
(With inputs from The Hindu & The Indian Express)
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