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Mulayam Singh Yadav-led UP government’s decision to stop Hindu worship in Vyas Tehkhana at Gyanvapi illegal – Allahabad High Court

On 1st February, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee moved to the Supreme Court with their plea against the Varanasi District Court’s order.

On Monday, 26th February, the Allahabad High Court stated that the order passed by Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Uttar Pradesh government to stop Hindu worship rituals in Vyas Ka Tehkhana in 1993 was illegal. The court dismissed the plea of Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee challenging the Varanasi District Court’s 31st January order allowing regular Puja at the Vyas Ka Tehkhana in the disputed structure of Gyanvapi.

In its observation, the court stated that the state [under Mulayam Yadav] stopped the worship rituals without an order in writing, thus it is illegal.

Excerpt from Allahabad High Court judgment

In 1993, Assembly Elections took place in UP after Kalyan Singh government was dismissed following the demolition of illegal Babri structure, and Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Soon after assuming the office, Yadav sealed the cellar, citing law and order concerns. The court said, “The act of the State Government since 1993, restraining the Vyas family from performing religious worship and rituals and also by the devotees, was a continuous wrong being perpetuated.”

The court further stated in its observation that stopping worship and performing rituals by the devotees “would be against their interest”. Furthermore, citing Article 25 of the Constitution of India, the court said that the citizen’s rights protected under the constitution cannot be “arbitrarily revoked” by the state. The court noted that Vyas’s family has the religious freedom to conduct worship and rituals in their cellar, and it cannot be stopped based on the government’s oral orders.

Notably, on 1st February, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee moved to the Supreme Court with their plea against the Varanasi District Court’s order. However, the Supreme Court refused to entertain their plea and asked them to approach the Allahabad High Court. Reportedly, hours after the Varanasi court delivered the verdict allowing the worship of Hindu deities in the Vyas Ji Ka Tehkhana (the basement cellar of the Vyas family), the Committee of Management, Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, Varanasi filed an urgent application on 31st January seeking status quo at the disputed site. However, the Supreme Court rejected this plea and refused to accept the petition, asking the Masjid Committee to approach the High Court instead.

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