If the verdict of Gyanvapi dispute comes in favour of Hindus then the credit will go to Vishnu Shankar Jain and Hari Shankar Jain, who are advocating this matter in the court. Hari Shankar Jain started advocacy in 1976. Vishnu Jain is the son of senior Supreme Court advocate Harishankar Jain, who represented the Hindu Mahasabha in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. He is a litigator or attorney in at least 12 cases involving Hindu/Jain deities. Along with Gyanvapi, there are 110 such disputed cases in which Harishankar Jain and Vishnu Shankar Jain are fighting on behalf of Hindus. This includes Mathura’s Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah case, the Qutub Minar complex dispute, the claim of Taj Mahal as a Shiva temple, among several others. Now debate is also on controversial Waqf Laws as Muslims are misusing their power and encroaching temples and lands belonging to Hindus. Mahendra Kumar of Organiser interviewed Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain on Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple civil dispute, and how the Waqf Law is making lives miserable of innocent Hindus and other non-Muslims. Excerpts
You are one of the first persons to highlight anomalies in the Waqf law with reference to the Gyanvapi issue. What problem do you see with this law?
I have raised this issue many times. Section 4, 5, 6 of the Waqf is unconstitutional. The cost of the survey conducted in Section 8 is borne by the State Government which is legally wrong. Section 40  is the biggest unlawful law of Waqf. Through this Waqf can take possession of any land and can declare it as its property. Waqf can give orders to the State Government under Section 54, 55. This is also unconstitutional. Section 107, 83, 85 is also unconditional. I have spoken all this many times on diverse media platforms.
“Muslims have got a lot of power through Waqf. As a result, illegal occupations are taking place all over the country. There is no such law to protect other religions. In a democratic country, everyone should have equal rights”
We have seen a lot of land grabbing in prime locations in a bid to expand Waqf properties. In Delhi, this illegal activity is occuring at an alarming pace?
The root of this problem is the law. Unless this law is reformed or abolished, it is very difficult to solve such problems. By giving a lot of authority to the Waqf, its powers have been greatly increased. This is why some people are using the Waqf laws to suppress other religions. To prevent this, the laws of Waqf will have to be abolished in a limited or complete way through Parliament.
In Tamil Nadu we have seen that an entire village has been declared as Waqf property. The 1500-year-old temple was also made the property of the Waqf. So what is the remedy for Hindus?
Avoiding a bad law does not mean that another bad law should be made. It is true that the law of Waqf is a big problem not only for Hindus but also for Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs. The Parliament will have to consider shortcomings of Waqf laws and take some strong steps to rectify them. I believe that Waqf law should not be applied to non-Muslims. This law should only be limited to Muslim people.
It is said that you and your father are the only lawyers who take the side of Hindus. Have you ever been in danger?
Yes, many times we got death threats on the phone. But we are not afraid of all these things. We make our point in the court on the basis of facts and evidence. If our evidence has merit, then we win the case in court. We are lawyers and do not speak anything without proof and facts. There are so many matters in society. We only focus on our work. What does anyone think about us, we don’t care.
Jain Raised Voice against Waqf
- On September 3, 2022, a petition was filed in SC through Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain by two individuals alleging that the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board (UP Waqf Board) was taking advantage of powers conferred by the Act. Under the Waqf Act,1995, the Board has captured a number of public properties including religious properties of Hindus.
- On many platforms, Jain spoke about the true facts of Waqf. He said Section 40 (3) of the Act as per which the Waqf Board can, if it has any reason to believe that any property of any trust or society registered in pursuance of the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 or under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or under any other Act, is waqf property, hold an inquiry with respect to such a property. If after such an inquiry is satisfied that such property is waqf property, call upon the trust or society to register such property as waqf property.
What should the Government do to protect the interest of Hindus?
Yes, not only Hindus, but also other non-Muslims. Government will have to think about it. Muslims have got a lot of power through Waqf. As a result, illegal occupations are taking place all over the country. There is no such law to protect other religions. In a democratic country, everyone should have equal rights.
The Gyanvapi case is one of the most complex issues. You guys have had some success in this. What is the strategy now?
Yes, we have got some success in this matter. We all worked as a team. I cannot share with you the next strategy. We will demand carbon dating from ASI of Shivling and other things found in Gyanvapi. This matter has just started. It may take some time for this to finish.