By Omar Rashid

New Delhi: Hindu prayers inside the basement of the Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi will continue at least till February 6, as the Allahabad high court on Friday (February 2) did not grant any relief to the caretakers of the mosque, who were seeking a stay on the district court’s order handing the basement over to Hindus for puja.

The court directed the management committee of the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, which manages the Gyanvapi Masjid, to file a fresh, amended appeal against the district court order and said it would hear the matter on February 6.

Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal, meanwhile, directed the state government to maintain the law and order situation. Ajay Mishra, Uttar Pradesh’s advocate general, committed to the court that the district magistrate would do so “pursuant to the order passed by the” Varanasi district judge.

The mosque management committee had approached the high court on January 31, challenging the Varanasi district court order and its subsequent compliance within half a day by the district administration to allow Hindu prayers inside the mosque’s basement.

The committee sought an interim stay on the puja being conducted inside the basement.

‘Hasty’ implementation

During the hearing, the lawyers for the Hindu plaintiffs in the Gyanvapi Masjid-Kashi Vishwanath Temple matter raised a “primary objection” on the maintainability of the appeal on the grounds that the basic order of January 17, which preceded the eventual handing over of the basement, had not been challenged.

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