Updated: December 10, 2021 3:28:58 am
Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, BJP MP Harnath Singh raised Mathura’s Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi land dispute issue in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, demanding repeal of the Places of Worship Act, 1991. His remarks ran into objections from the Opposition MPs.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Singh claimed that provisions of Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, “do not just violate the Constitutional principles of equality and life, but also violate the principles of secularism, which is an integral part of the preamble and the basic structure of the Constitution.”
He was referring to the sections in the Act that make it clear that the religious character of a place of worship shall continue to be the same as it was on August 15, 1947, and that no person shall convert any place of worship of a religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section.
Section 4(2) says that all suits, appeals or other proceedings regarding converting the character of a place of worship, that were pending on August 15, 1947, will stand abated when the Act commences and no fresh proceedings can be filed. It essentially prohibits litigation in contentious disputes related to places of worship.
Singh said, “The meaning of this law is that it basically legitimises forcible occupation of places of worship such as Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi and others by foreign invaders…this law discriminates between Shri Ram and Shri Krishna whereas both are avatars of Lord Vishnu. This discriminates against Hindus, Budhhists, Jains and Sikhs. I request that it be repealed as soon as possible.”
RJD MP Manoj Jha and Congress MP Anand Sharma questioned the decision to allow the topic to be raised. Claiming that Singh had opened Pandora’s box by bringing up the issue, Jha said, “The 1991 Act was passed by this Parliament to protect the idea of cordiality and harmony…The nation has suffered enough due to religious conflicts.”
His attempt to raise a point of order was declined by Deputy Chairman Harivansh. “I would like to make it clear that all these notices are admitted under the Rajya Sabha rules by the Chairman. If you have objections, you can write to the Chairman,” he said.
Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav chipped in, saying Jha should accept the ruling.
Many BJP leaders have raised the issue in public in the run-up to UP elections. Recently, UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya also tweeted that “preparations are on for Mathura”.
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