“Until now, the shops and houses in narrow lanes shielded the Gyanvapi Mosque, Now it stands exposed, surrounded by Temples,” S.M. Yaseen

The Uttar Pradesh government, led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has been engaged on building a 400-meter corridor between the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the Ganga.  It is estimated to cost Rs 600 crore, seeks to create a wide pathway from three prominent ghats of the river Ganga to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, easing access for devotees visiting it.

This “Kashi Vishwanath Heritage Corridor” has been termed by many as a pet project of the Central Government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to make Kashi a city of world attraction by 2022. The project aims to clear around 45,000 square metres of space around the temple and create dedicated pathways that are 50 feet wide.

As per reports, locals have pointed out how this project has destroyed several small temples and idols in the area. Recent reports from Times of India point out that the chabootra at Gate number 4 of the temple was being demolished by the administrators. The demolition prompted a mob to gather in the area which ultimately had to be stopped, later it was reconstructed.

The demolition has also exposed the back of the ‘Gyanvapi Mosque’, the remnant of the old Vishwanath temple which had been incorporated into the mosque. As per TOI reports, S.M. Yaseen, joint secretary of Anjuman Intezamiya Masajid (AIM), Varanasi, an administrative body of the Mosque, said, “Gyanvapi Mosque could meet the same fate as Babri.”

Yaseen further added, “Until now, the shops and houses in narrow lanes shielded the mosque. Now it stands exposed, surrounded by Temples. Between 1991 and 1992, the area surrounding the mosque was cleared by the then BJP government led by Kalyan Singh for ‘beautification’ of Ayodhya.”

The administrators have assured the safety of the Gyanvapi Mosque, the District Magistrate insists that the Mosque is completely secure.