The judge who ordered a video survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi told authorities on Tuesday that he had received a "threat letter", purportedly from "an organisation called Islamic Aagaz Movement".
The letter refers to the video survey that Varanasi civil judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar had ordered on April 26, based on which there was a claim by Hindu organisations that the mosque houses a Shivling. The mosque committee members said that the structure was part of a fountain in the wazookhana used by devotees to perform ritual ablutions before offering namaz.
Judge Diwakar wrote to the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), the Director General of Police (DGP), and to the Varanasi Police Commissionerate, demanding appropriate action.
Varanasi police chief A Satish Ganesh confirmed that the judge received a letter in Hindi, purportedly "written by Kashif Ahmed Siddiqui on behalf of the Islamic Aagaz Movement" via registered post. Deputy Commissioner of Police Varuna is probing the matter, Mr Ganesh said.
Nine police personnel are already deployed for the security of the judge, the officer said, and ten personnel are deployed also to protect the district judge, who is now hearing the matter. After some Muslim organisations sought its intervention, the Supreme Court had transferred the case from the civil judge (senior division) to the district judge on May 20, a day after the video survey report had been submitted to Judge Diwakar.
The purported threat letter, viral on social media, says, "No Muslim can expect a right decision from a 'kafir, murtipujak' (idol-worshipping infidel) Hindu judge. You will declare the mosque a temple." It alleges that "in the hatred-filled political, social and cultural environment of India today, judges too are drenched in the colour saffron".
"Since you carry out judicial duties, why would there be any fear for your wife and mother?... You know very well that if you do not give a verdict as per the desires of extremist Hindu politicians and religious leaders... they will make your life difficult," it further reads. It concludes by suggesting that the judge "should make this letter public and bask in Hindu sympathies".
The letter was posted on June 4 and was written on a letterhead that carried a Delhi address, police said.