Delhi to Varanasi, the unlikely group of five Gyanvapi petitioners

At the center of the new tension across the disputed Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complicated in Varanasi are 5 ladies petitioners, one Delhi-based, 4 residing in Varanasi, the youngest 35, the oldest 65. Apart from love for ‘Goddess Maa Shringar Gauri’, what connects maximum of them is an opportunity satsang assembly, whilst no less than two have some hyperlinks to Hindu outfits.

It is their petition in the hunt for that they be allowed to wish at ‘a Shringar Gauri Sthal’ throughout the complicated that led a Civil Judge (Senior Division), Varanasi, to reserve a videographic inspection. While the mosque control committee has objected to the similar, on Thursday, the native court docket directed that the inspection would move forward, with a report back to be submitted by way of May 17.

The mosque facet had additionally objected to the Advocate Commissioner appointed by way of the court docket for the inspection as “biased”, and on Thursday, the court docket appointed two extra.

While Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak are living in Varanasi and feature been provide at each and every listening to of the case – which started in August 2021 — the 5th and major petitioner, Rakhi Singh, is founded in Delhi and has now not been to court docket.

Singh’s passion turns out to originate from her hyperlinks to the ‘Vishwa Vedic Sanathan Sangh’. The 35-year-old is a ‘founder member’ of the outfit, which claims to have achieved “coordination” for the petition. Her uncle, Jitendra Singh Bishen, is the president of the Sangh.

Santosh Singh, the UP convenor of the Vishwa Vedic Sanathan Sangh, says the outfit coordinated with 4 of the ladies and taken them in combination to document the Gyanvapi petition in August 2021. “We are managing the whole case.”

Then there’s the husband of Laxmi Devi, 65. Sohan Lal Arya, a senior VHP office-bearer in Varanasi, claims it used to be he who “inspired and brought together the five women (petitioners)”. Arya, 71, may be the “pairokar (litigants’ agent)” within the petition.

The VHP Varanasi Mahanagar vice-president and spokesperson since 1984, he informed The Indian Express: “I inspired the five women to file the petition in the Varanasi court. The five women, including my wife Laxmi Devi, were chosen by me.”

Arya, who claims to had been related to the RSS since early life, says he filed his first petition in regards to the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi subject in a Varanasi court docket in 1985. This time, he provides, he made up our minds to place ladies within the entrance as it’s they who pray to Goddess Maa Shringar Gauri. “I chose the four women as I needed some women to file the petition. I didn’t have any other names, so I picked them.”

The Vishwa Vedic Sanathan Sangh used to be based in 2018 “for the cause of Hindutva”. Headquartered in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district, it claims to have an workplace in New Delhi and several other different states.

The outfit has additionally filed instances over the standing of Qutub Minar in a New Delhi court docket (on Tuesday, some Hindu activists attempted to recite Hanuman Chalisa there, claiming it used to be Vishnu Stambh); in addition to one in regards to the Krishna Janmasthan in a Mathura court docket, which additionally comes to a dispute with a mosque.

Sita Sahu, probably the most 5 petitioners, has some other account of the way they got here in combination for the case. “Four of us met at a satsang and decided to file the petition. We were contacted by Rakhi Singh saying she wanted to be a part of the petition, so we included her too.”

Rakhi Singh, 35

The major petitioner, the Delhi-based Rakhi Singh is a founding member of the Vishwa Vedic Sanathan Sangh. Singh has now not seemed for any of the hearings within the case, and remained unreachable for remark.

The outfit’s UP convenor, Santosh Singh, says Rakhi Singh “is a social worker working for the cause of Hindutva”. On her passion within the temple-mosque complicated, Santosh Singh says: “She has visited Varanasi multiple times and is a worshipper of Goddess Maa Shringar Gauri.”

Laxmi Devi, 65

Laxmi Devi’s husband, VHP chief Sohan Lal Arya, says she is a homemaker who hasn’t ever been related to any outfit or organisation. “She barely ever leaves the house,” he provides, together with to come back to the court docket listening to. So Arya seems on her behalf.

The couple are living in Varanasi’s Mahmoorganj space.

Sita Sahu, 40

The married Sahu runs a small common retailer from her space in Chetganj space of Varanasi, simply 2 km from the complicated. While she hasn’t ever been related to any outfit or organisation, she says, “we are doing work for Hindu religion and filed the petition because we are not allowed to properly worship our Goddess at the temple”.

Manju Vyas, 49

Vyas runs a attractiveness parlour from her space situated 1.5 km from the Gyanvapi complicated and isn’t a member or office-bearer of any outfit or organisation both. Apart from her small trade, she says, she “looks after my family”. Her passion is to wish on the Shringar Gauri Sthal, she says.

Rekha Pathak, 35

Pathak, a resident of Hanuman Pathak space, which may be situated within the neighborhood of the Kashi Vishwanath temple complicated, is a homemaker. She says she changed into part of the petition for the reason for her Goddess. “I felt bad that women who go to the temple for worship are not allowed past the barricading, so I became a part of the petition. The decision to file the petition was taken by us during a satsang of the temple because all of us worship the Goddess,” she says.

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