Allahabad HC refuses to cancel Varanasi court order allowing 'puja' in Gyanvapi Masjid's cellar

News Network
February 26, 2024

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The puja will continue in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, the Allahabad High Court said on Monday, February 26 while dismissing an appeal that had challenged the district court's order to this effect.

Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal dismissed the mosque management committee's appeal that had challenged the Varanasi district court's order allowing "puja" to be performed in the "Vyas Tehkhana" or southern cellar of the mosque.

The high court dismissed two appeals filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Mosque Committee challenging the district judge's January 17 order that appointed the district magistrate as the receiver of the "Vyas Tehkhana" and January 31 order by which he allowed "puja" to be performed there.

The high court said worship in the "Vyas Tehkhana" will continue.

Dismissing the appeals, Justice Agarwal said, "After going through the entire records of the case and considering the arguments of the parties concerned, the court did not find any ground to interfere in the judgment passed by the district judge on January 17, appointing the Varanasi district magistrate as the receiver of the property, as well as the order dated January 31 by which the district court permitted puja in the tehkhana."

The high court judge had reserved his verdict in the matter on February 15 after hearing the counsel for the parties.

The Anjuman Intezamia Mosque Committee manages the affairs of the Gyanvapi mosque. It moved the high court on February 2, hours after the Supreme Court refused to hear its plea against the district court order and asked it to approach the high court.

The district court ruled on January 31 that a Hindu priest can perform prayers before the idols in the southern cellar of the mosque.

The prayers are now being conducted by a "pujari" nominated by the Kashi Vishwanath temple trust and the petitioner, who has claimed that his grandfather offered puja in the cellar till December 1993.

The district court had directed the local administration to make arrangements within seven days for prayers in the cellar. This would have involved "proper arrangements" with metal barricades at the complex.

A Sangh Parivar-backed survey conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on the court's order had claimed that the mosque was constructed during Mughal emperor Aurangzeb's rule over the remains of a Hindu temple.

The January 31 order was delivered on the plea of Shailendra Kumar Pathak, who had claimed that his maternal grandfather, priest Somnath Vyas, offered prayers in the cellar till December 1993.

He had said the "puja" was stopped during the tenure of then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav after the Babri masjid in Ayodhya was demolished on December 6, 1992.

During the hearing, the Muslim side to the dispute had contested the petitioner's version. It had said no idols existed in the cellar and hence, there was no question of prayers being offered there till 1993.

The Muslim side had also countered the petitioner's claim that the basement was under his grandfather's control.

The petitioner had claimed that his family had the control of the cellar even during the British rule.

In an earlier order on January 17, the Varanasi court had directed the district magistrate to take charge of the cellar, but not given any directions then on the right to offer prayers there.

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News Network
April 4,2024

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Mangaluru: Air India Express commenced direct flight operations between Mangaluru and Jeddah on Wednesday, April 3.

Officials from Mangaluru International Airport and Air India Express gathered to witness this historic launch, marking the framework connecting the coastal town with modern commercial hub and gateway for pilgrimages, to the Islamic holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Jeddah is the eighth international destination served by Mangaluru International Airport. The inaugural leg of weekly flight IX 797 from Mangaluru to Jeddah flew in from Tiruchirappalli as IX 1499, also a new domestic connection for Mangaluru. The flight had108 passengers on board, flying to Jeddah. 

Devouts embarking for Umrah, an Islamic pilgrimage made up for most of passengers who took the inaugural flight to Jeddah. Shabih Ahmed Kazi, a businessman who was among the first passengers to purchase a ticket for this flight, while thanking both the airport and the airline, hoped that the frequency between the two destinations will increase.

Nirmala Cardoza, another passenger, said the direct flight to Jeddah is a realisation of 29-year-long-wait. 

The departure hall of the Airport wore a festive look for the inaugural flight.  Mukesh Nankani, chief airport officer lit the traditional lamp along with heads of major stakeholder departments including the Customs, Immigration, Airport Security Group of CISF and HODs of the airport.

Nankani later joined the young travelers and Kazi in cutting a celebratory cake and handed over the boarding pass to the first passenger to add to the festive atmosphere. 

The Airport presented a rose, a certificate, and a pouch of assorted dry fruits to the passengers who boarded the inaugural Jeddah flight.

The Airport gave a traditional welcome to flight IX 1499 skippered by Captain Anmol Deep Sin Padda when it arrived from Tiruchirappalli. Captain Anmol later steered the inaugural flight to Jeddah with a new set of crew. The flight from Tiruchirappalli to Jeddah via Mangaluru will operate every Wednesday and the return flight on Thursday.

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News Network
April 13,2024

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Mysuru, Apr 13: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be visiting Mysuru on Sunday, is welcome in the state.

"Let him come and go. He is the PM. But he should tell people about what he has done to the people of Karnataka. Let him answer about the injustice done by the Union Government towards the state in terms of giving tax share, not releasing drought relief funds yet and also about the unemployment issue," he said.

The Chief Minister was speaking to media people near his residence at Sharadadevi Nagar in Mysuru on Saturday.

Reacting to a question on BJP's slogan, 'Teesri Baar Modi Sarkar, Ab Ki Baar Char Sau Paar' (Modi government for the third time with over 400 seats), CM Siddaramaiah said, "This slogan is only a strategy to divert the minds of people. Because, according to me, the NDA will not get an absolute majority/simple majority this time in the Parliament elections."

"I.N.D.I.A. bloc and the parties which are against BJP will get a majority in the Lok Sabha polls," he said.

Responding to the statement of BJP leaders that 'even if B R Ambedkar comes, the Indian Constitution cannot be changed', Siddaramaiah said, "BJP is always against the Indian Constitution. Savarkar and the second Chief of RSS M S Golwalkar both opposed the Indian Constitution written by Baba Saheb B R Ambedkar on January 26, 1950."

"When BJP MP Ananth Kumar Hegde spoke about changing the Indian Constitution twice, why wasn't he punished? Why wasn't he suspended from the party? Why didn't they drop him from the cabinet?"

"Hegde was not given a ticket for the LS polls, as he had not done any work in the five years and was only active for the last three-four months of his term. The reason Hegde was not given a ticket was because BJP had realised that he would lose the elections, and not because of his statement related to the Constitution" the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, regarding the nabbing of the two key suspects in the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case in Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah said, "I thank the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and also the Karnataka police for tracing and arresting the accused in the case, in Kolkata."

"They will be brought to Bengaluru and further information related to the case will be known after their interrogation," he said.

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News Network
April 13,2024

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Mangaluru: After as the state health ministry issued guidelines to the public in view of a heatwave, the health department in Dakshina Kannada has advised people to be cautious about the impact of heatstroke, including heat rash, heat edema, heat cramps, heat tetany, heat syncope, and heat exhaustion.

Dakshina Kannada district nodal officer for climate change, Dr Naveenchandra Kulal, said that the impact of heat-related illness can also be found in the district, when there is a variation of about 4.5⁰C from the normal temperature.

Dr Kulal told media persons here on Friday, that the impact of heat-related illness is not confined to Raichur, Kalaburagi, and other North Karnataka districts.

“Those who reside inside tin sheet houses and closed environments are likely to suffer from heatstroke. People should hydrate themselves by drinking more water and avoid working under the direct Sun. Heat exhaust fans can be used. Though no heatstroke cases have been reported in the district, any negligence may cause heatstroke,” he said. 

DHO Dr Thimmaiah HR said that hotels and restaurants should supply boiled water, and they should clean the overhead tanks once every three months. The filter of drinking water units should be cleaned frequently, he said.

He also directed paying guest accommodations to supply fresh food to inmates.

“We have received complaints of many paying guest accommodations serving sambar cooked the previous day to inmates. Stale food should be avoided, as there are chances of food contamination. Plastics should be avoided while packing food in hotels. As per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines, the use of plastic to pack hot food is restricted,” the DHO said.

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