The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has reacted sharply and condemned the survey of Varanasi's Gyanvapi masjid and sealing of 'wuzu khana' (ablution area).
The board termed the survey, its report, and the sealing of 'wuzu khana' as gross injustice to Muslims.
In a statement issued late on Monday evening, the AIMPLB said the current situation created about the Gyanvapi mosque was completely unacceptable to Muslims, and Gyanvapi "was a mosque and will continue to remain a mosque till the end".
AIMPLB General Secretary, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani said, "Gyanvapi is a mosque and will remain a mosque. The attempt to transform it into a temple is nothing more than a conspiracy to spread hate by communal forces."
However, Rais Ahmad Ansari, an advocate of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee that manages the Gyanvapi mosque, has called petitioners' claim about a "Shivling" being found at the mosque "misleading".
"There's only a fountain in the mosque's wuzu khana," Ansari said.
His statement came after a court in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi ordered the sealing of the spot where "Shivling" was reportedly found and Hindu petitioners claimed that a 'Shivling' had been found in the survey.
The court order was based on a petition that was filed by an advocate that there was some concrete evidence that needed to be protected.
The Supreme Court bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud will hear this case on Tuesday.
An appeal has been filed by the Masjid Committee against the Allahabad High Court's order allowing the court-appointed Commissioner to the Inspector, to conduct a survey and videography of the Gyanvapi mosque.
The Gyanvapi mosque is adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi.
At present, the Varanasi court has directed the Archaeological Survey of India to probe the structure of the Gyanvapi masjid.
On April 18, 2021, five Delhi-based women -- Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, and Sita Sahu, among others moved the court with their plea where they sought permission for daily prayers before the idols of Hindu deities on the outer walls of the masjid.
The petitioners also sought to stop their opponents from causing any damage to the idols.
An advocate from the Hindu side, Madan Mohan Yadav, has claimed that the Shivling is facing the Nandi and is 12 feet by 8 inches in diameter. (AA/IANS)