Hindu organisations have rejected the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) proposed arrangement of letting both Hindus and Muslims pray at Bhojshala in Dhar town of Madhya Pradesh on Basant Panchami on February 12, saying the devotees will sit outside the disputed shrine if Friday prayers are allowed. Both the communities claim the Bhojshala-Kamal Maula Masjid as their own; the district administration is now bracing for a tense Basant Panchmi.
“Hindus will boycott the puja if they are not allowed uninterrupted access to the shrine from sunrise to sunset. Interrupted prayers are not auspicious. We hope something will happen by February 11,” Dharma Jagaran Manch convenor Gopal Sharma told The Indian Express on Tuesday. The ASI has said Hindus will be allowed to pray from sunrise to noon and then from 3.30 pm till sunset, while Muslims will be allowed to pray from 1 pm to 3 pm. In 2006 and 2013, similar arrangement had not worked because Hindu organisations had refused to clear the premises by the stipulated time, forcing the police to use force.
The Dharma Jagaran Manch’s talk of boycott has kept the administration on its toes because till recently its members had said Muslims should be asked to pray elsewhere for a day.