Residents & Citizens Protest as Demolitions around Shiv Viswanath Mandir continue: Varanasi

Written by Sabrangindia Staff | Published on: March 21, 2018
Consternation and protests grow in Varanasi as temples and shops have been razed to the ground around the historic Shiv Vishwanath temple in Banaras. Dozens of ancient and heritage temples have been summarily razed to the ground, it is alleged. This has left the Gyanvapi Mosque completely exposed and many fear that this may lead to its damage or siege.

Today another protest was launched against these demolitions by residents and worshippers. Nothing seems to stop the authorities determined to plan ‘a grand temple’ here all equipped with helicopter pads etc. Since 2014, when plans for a ‘Bhavya Mandir’ (Grand Temple) gained ground, the government of Uttar Pradesh has been stealthily clearing out the small lanes, historical temples and buildings leading up to the Manikarnika Ghat, leaving the historic Gyanvapi Masjid thoroughly exposed.

Sabrangindia had reported on this exclusively on March 9. “ The buildings around the entrance of the temple have been ‘acquired’ by heavyweight corporate based out of Mumbai who have –it is reported –been ‘facilitating the compensation and take over. Many old lands around the Shiv Viswanath temple have been acquitted by two or three maths affiliated to a political dispensation. The plan, openly speculated upon by the local media is to demolish all the ‘gallis’ (lanes) and ancient temples around this area and ‘clean up the surroundings to a large pathway (where cars and helicopters can drop) for a ‘darshan’ of the temple. This will leave the historic Gyanvapi masjid completely exposed.

The ancient Vishwanath temple — which has been demolished and rebuilt many times​ — ​was last demolished by Aurangzeb in 1669 CE, who built Gyan Vapi mosque at the ​ruins of the temple. After several failed attempts to rebuild the temple by demolishing the newly built mosque, it was Ahilyabai Holkar who constructed a new temple adjacent to the mosque in 1780.

With ‘Clean Up’ Plans around Gyanvapi Masjid, Lakhs Being Siphoned in ‘Compensation’, Activists Fear an ‘Ayodhya’ like Demolition in Varanasi