In a new development, a person has voiced serious concerns about the area of the land of the Gyanvapi complex adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, a weaver from Lohta in Varanasi, claims that a large portion of land have gone missing, as the area has come down substantially.
Ansari said that the land of Gyanvapi was 31 Biswa according to the 1883 revenue record, but its current record shows only 10.5 Biswa, only one third of the original area. He said, “Gyanvapi’s land is merely 10.5 Biswa, according to the commission action that has been taken thus far. So, what happened to the remainder of the land? Why is the Anjuman Intrazia Masajid Committee not providing clarification…?” Ansari has also filed an application regarding the same in the court. It is notable that 1 Biswa equals 1,350 square feet.
Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari stated that when the report of the court-appointed committee showed up, it was discovered that the Gyanvapi Masjid owns only 14000 square feet of land, which is equivalent of less then ten and a half Biswa. When he began investigating the related records and obtained an copy of old records, he discovered that in 1883, during British rule, the land of Araji No. 9130, i.e. Gyanvapi Masjid, was around 31 Biswa. In this regard, he requested that the Anjuman Prajataniya Masajid Committee clarify the matter.
Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari said that it took a lot of efforts to find the old land record of the site. First he went to the Municipal Corporation office, then he went to the Waqf Board, and after that to the Revenue Office, where he found the plan from 1883.
Remarking what he spoke to the AIM Committee members, he stated, “You don’t tell the people anything they should know. They tell people what should not be told. Those people were furious with us, and we were labelled traitors. We were accused of questioning them by accepting money from the BJP. Aside from that, we were told a lot of other things. It had little impact on us.”
SM Yasin, the Joint Secretary of Anjuman Insanjariya Masajid Committee refuted all the allegations by Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari. He said that they don’t know much land the mosque had a century ago. He added the land belonging to the mosque had shrunk in 1937, but he does not have its details. He informed that the Anjuman Prajataniya Masajid Committee has a plot of more than 2500 square feet in the Gyanvapi premises. Apart from it, they had another plot of 1400 square feet in the same premises. He also remined that the committee had exchanged 1700 sq ft of land with the temple administration on its own will.
It may be noted that in 2021, the Sunni Waqf Board had given away 1700 square feet of land near the mosque site to the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir in exchange of another plot of same value measuring 1000 square feet. The plot was needed for the Kashi Viswanath Corridor project, and as the land belonged to the Waqf Board, it couldn’t be sold, hence it was exchanged.
However, Ansari has stood his ground. He said that he is being labelled as BJP agent after raising the question, but he is quoting 139-year-old record which can’t be denied by anybody. Referring to the petition filed by 5 Hindu women which led to the survey of the premises, Ansari said that the petition mentions the plot number 9130, and asked why the acreage has not been mentioned. Questioning the intention behind not mentioning the area of the land, he said that he has submitted a prayer before the court to become a party to the case. He said that after the maintainability of the petition by Hindu side is decided, his plea will be considered by the court.
It is worth noting that the Varanasi court ordered that the survey report and videography report be sent to both parties on May 30th. However, the Gyanvapi Mosque Committee has asked the court not to make the survey photographs and videos public. On the other hand, the Hindu side applauded the court’s judgement. After receiving a copy of the report, both parties will have seven days to file their objections.
During a discussion on the disputed construction at Gyanvapi on May 24, Hindu side lawyer Vishnu Jain alleged that the Muslim side wilfully desecrated the Shivling in order to install a fountain-like structure. He further stated that a 63cm hole had been bored in the Shivling.