JIH denounces pooja inside Gyanvapi mosque, demands respect for Places of Worship Act


Anwarulhaq Baig

New Delhi— Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has strongly condemned recent developments surrounding the Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi including a district court order facilitating Hindu prayers inside the mosque complex and the demolition of Akhonji Masjid in Delhi, accusing authorities of bias and urging adherence to the Places of Worship Act.

Addressing a press conference held at the JIH headquarters today, JIH Vice President Malik Motasim Khan alleged collusion between the Varanasi district administration and Hindu petitioners, which he said enabled idol installation and prayers in the sealed basement before the mosque committee could appeal against the controversial court verdict.

Terming the order a “shocking judgment” that violates the Places of Worship Act, 1991, Mr Khan said the decision was based on the erroneous assumption that Hindu puja was undertaken in Gyanvapi’s basement until 1993. He asserted that no evidence exists to support claims of prior Hindu prayer at the mosque site.

Mr Khan also denounced some media outlets for unilaterally publishing an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report claiming remnants of a Hindu temple inside the Gyanvapi complex. He clarified that currently the report’s claims remain legally inconsequential.

The JIH leader expressed concerns that events in Varanasi could embolden similar arbitrary claims over sites like the Shahi Idgah mosque in Mathura and other mosques and waqf properties nationwide, stoking communal tensions.

Akhonji Masjid Demolition

Mr Khan also condemned the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) demolition of the 600-year-old Akhonji mosque and connected madrasa in Mehrauli on Tuesday. Terming it an “act of desperation”, he accused the DDA of vandalism and attempting to erase traces of the demolished site.

The JIH Vice President emphasized that all parties must respect the Places of Worship Act, 1991, which upholds the religious status of sites as on August 15, 1947.

Mr Khan lamented that when even the judiciary abandons objectivity to enable majoritarian ascendancy over minority religious sites, the oppressed have nowhere to seek justice. Urging people to defeat political attempts to “reverse history” for electoral gains, Mr Khan said the judiciary must become the vanguard of the Places of Worship Act and reverse biased judgments violating the law.

Mr. Malik urged the government and judiciary to uphold the Act, warning against “Pandora’s box” scenarios if claims based on Aastha or faith or disputed historical narratives are allowed to supersede established legal frameworks.

Appealing to the Indian people to resist attempts to “reverse history” and utilize emotional issues for political gains, he emphasized the need for national unity and respect for religious diversity.

In a the press conference, JIH leaders also spoke on different issues including Interim Union Budget, Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill, and Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza and the International Court of Justice.

Expressing reservations regarding the draft of the uniform civil code proposed by the Uttarakhand government, JIH Vice President Prof. Salim Engineer questions the appropriateness of labeling it as “common” or “uniform.” Prof. Salim Engineer emphasizes that the term “uniform civil code” implies a standardized set of laws applicable uniformly across the nation. Referring to the constitution, however, he points out that if individual states are allowed to formulate their separate versions, it raises many questions.

Highlighting the exclusion of tribals from the draft UCC bill, Prof. Salim questions how the proposed code can be considered uniform when it excludes certain communities. According to Prof. Salim, this selective inclusion suggests an agenda targeting Muslims and creating an atmosphere across the country ahead of the general polls.

Prof. Salim slammed the CBI’s raids on rights activist Harsh Mander’s residence and office, calling it a blatant attempt to muzzle dissent.

While commending South Africa for taking Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ,JIH Media Secretary KK Sohail welcomed the court’s observations condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza. According to him, South Africa’s advocacy at the ICJ underscored Israel’s alleged serious breaches of humanitarian law, accusing the nation of committing acts of genocide in Gaza. While expressing disappointment over the lack of an immediate ceasefire call, Mr. Sohail appreciated the ruling’s focus on preventing genocide.

The JIH secretary called on the Government of India, the international community, and Muslim countries to join forces in pressing Israel for an immediate ceasefire.


  1. This article denouncing the Pooja inside the Gyanvapi Mosque underscores the significance of respecting the Places of Worship Act . It’s essential to uphold religious harmony and adhere to the laws that protect the sanctity of all places of worship. Let’s promote unity and mutual respect for diverse beliefs ️. #ReligiousHarmony #RespectPlacesOfWorship #UnityInDiversity


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