The Famous Five: The Hindu women petitioners fighting to pray at the Gyanvapi mosque


The Varanasi District Court on Monday (12 September) held that a suit filed by five Hindu women seeking permission to perform daily worship of the Hindu deities whose idols are said to be located on an outer wall of the Gyanvapi mosque was maintainable.

A single bench of district Judge AK Vishvesh ruled that neither the Places of Worship Act, 1991, nor the Waqf Act, 1995, nor the UP Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983 bar the suit and that the “plaintiffs will have right to prove their averments by cogent evidence”, as the next hearing is slated for 22 September.

The court said that that the petitioners were “only demanding right to worship Maa Sringar Gauri and other visible and invisible deities which were being worshipped incessantly till 1993 and after 1993 till now once a year” and that they are not claiming ownership of the disputed property.

“Therefore, the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 does not operate as the bar on the suit of plaintiffs. The suit of the plaintiffs is limited and confined to the right of worship as a civil right and fundamental right as well as customary and religious right.”

Also read: Varanasi court rejects Muslim side’s petition: A look back at Gyanvapi mosque’s disputed past since 1936

Shortly after the court gave its verdict, which is being seen as a “big win for the Hindus, one of the petitioners — Manju Vyas — was seen rejoicing and dancing. Speaking to reporters, she said, “That it was a very happy day and everyone should chant ‘Har har Mahadev.”

As the Hindu side celebrates the court’s decision, let’s take a closer look at the five women who are the heart of the Gyanvapi case and what inspired them to take up the matter in a court of law.

‘Sisters for generations’

The five women who were petitioners in the Gyanvapi case come from Varanasi and Delhi. Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak live in Varanasi while the fifth woman, Rakhi Singh, who was the driver of the petition, resides in the nation’s capital.

The four Varanasi women — Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak — agree that it was Rakhi Singh, who was the first petitioner, but since the filing of the case they went their separate ways.

It is reported that 35-year-old Rakhi’s interest in the matter stemmed from her links to the ‘Vishwa Vedic Sanathan Sangh’. Her uncle, Jitendra Singh Bishen, is the president of the Sangh.

Santosh Singh, the UP convenor of the Vishwa Vedic Sanathan Sangh, told Indian Express that the outfit coordinated with four of the women and brought them together to file the Gyanvapi petition in August 2021. “We are managing the whole case.”

Incidentally, the Vishwa Vedic Sanathan Sangh has also filed cases over the status of Qutub Minar in a New Delhi court as well as one regarding the Krishna Janmasthan in a Mathura court, which also involves a dispute with a mosque.

Since the hearings began in the Gyanvapi matter, Rakhi hasn’t attended court nor has she spoken to the media since the case began.

On her interest in the temple-mosque complex, Santosh Singh told the Indian Express: “She has visited Varanasi multiple times and is a worshipper of Goddess Maa Shringar Gauri.”

The other four women have been led by Laxmi Devi, a 65-year-old homemaker from Varanasi. Originally from Mumbai, Maharashtra, Lakshmi Devi moved to Varanasi after marriage. Her husband, Sohan Lal Arya, is a senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) office-bearer in Varanasi and also the “pairokar (litigants’ agent)” in the petition.

He has been quoted as telling 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.”

When asked for the reason for her filing the plea, she had earlier told The Print that she and the other women of Varanasi were unable to perform puja at the Maa Shringar Gauri site regularly, and felt sad to see the statue of the sacred Nandi Bull (Lord Shiva’s carrier) “waiting for him”.

The other three women Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak have known each other for about a decade. Vyas, who runs a small general store from her house in Chetganj area of Varanasi, just two kilometre from the complex, said they were friends earlier, but the Gyanvapi case had made them “sisters for generations”.

In a Scroll report, 40-year-old Sahu says that whenever they met at a religious gathering, the conversation would always turn to how to get daily access to the Shringar Gauri, not just once a year.

Sahu isn’t affiliated with any organisations or outfits herself, but she is no stranger to politics. Her mother Prabhawati Devi fought the municipal elections on a BJP ticket in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, 15 years ago. Additionally, Sahu too was involved in local politics before marriage.

Manju Vyas, who was seen rejoicing the court’s decision, runs a beauty parlour from her house located 1.5 km from the Gyanvapi complex. Apart from her small business, she says, she “looks after my family”.

Last but not the least is Rekha Pathak, who has been born and raised in Varanasi. Her father is Dayashankar Tripathi, the mahant of the well-known Laat Bhairav temple in Varanasi. In an Indian Express report, she is quoted as saying, “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.”

With inputs from agencies

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,
India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

यह भी पढ़ें



Article,4,ASE News,2,Business,23,codecanyon,3,DPR,1,Education / Employment,1,Entertainment,10,IANS – The Siasat Daily,3,India news,4159,Latest news,1,Madhy Pradesh,465,main,19,National,162,News,1,PTI – The Siasat Daily,3,Sports,11,World,22,World News,1703,
The Famous Five: The Hindu women petitioners fighting to pray at the Gyanvapi mosque
The Famous Five: The Hindu women petitioners fighting to pray at the Gyanvapi mosque
ASE News
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content