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Monday, May 10, 2021

Now, petition seeks ASI survey of Agra, Mathura mosques

The plea filed on Wednesday cites last week’s order by a Varanasi court to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a “comprehensive archaeological physical survey” of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex.

Written by Asad Rehman | Lucknow |
Updated: April 16, 2021 4:25:15 am
The application in Mathura was moved as part of an ongoing civil suit in which petitioner Bhagwan Shrikrishna Virajmaan is represented by advocate Shailender Singh and others.

A local Mathura court has been petitioned to order a survey of the Jama Masjid in Agra and the Shahi Eidgah mosque in Mathura to find out if idols of Hindu deity Krishna allegedly looted from the Mathura structure are buried in the Agra mosque, the petitioner said on Thursday.

The plea filed on Wednesday cites last week’s order by a Varanasi court to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a “comprehensive archaeological physical survey” of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex. The court asked the ASI to find out if the mosque “at the disputed site is a superimposition, alteration or addition or [if] there is a structural overlapping of any kind, with or over, any religious structure”.

The application in Mathura was moved as part of an ongoing civil suit in which petitioner Bhagwan Shrikrishna Virajmaan is represented by advocate Shailender Singh and others. The suit was submitted on February 19, following which the court issued notices to the respondents.

Shailender Singh told The Indian Express on Thursday, “We submitted an application on Wednesday in the court of Civil Judge, Senior Division, Mathura praying that in some books, it is written by historians that where the Shahi Eidgah mosque, Mathura, is there in current times, there used to be a temple there earlier. The temple was destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 1600s. After the temple was demolished, the idols were removed and were buried in a mosque in Agra, which is currently called the Jama Masjid, outside the Agra Fort…We have moved the application that an ASI survey should be done in the two mosques to find out if there was a temple there earlier or not.”

The book quoted by Singh is Anecdotes of Aurangzeb And Historical Essays by Jadunath Sarkar, published by MC Sarkar & Sons. In the petition, the lawyer said, “On Page 11-12 it is stated that, ‘The grandest shrine of Mathura, Kesav Rai’s temple, built at a cost of 33 lakhs of rupees by the Bundela Rajah Birsingh Dev, was razed to the ground in January 1670, and a mosque built on its site. The idols were brought to Agra and buried under the steps of Jahanara’s (Jama) mosque that they might be constantly trodden on by the Muslims going in to pray.’”

The petitioner urged the court to direct the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey Of India to “constitute a committee and conduct ground radiology with the help of the latest technologies and equipment available” at the Agra Jama Masjid”.

The Eidgah mosque’s secretary, Tanveer Khan, told The Indian Express that a local court would hear an application questioning the maintainability of the case on April 19. The application filed on Wednesday is scheduled to be heard on May 10.

“The hearing [on April 19] is about the maintainability of the case. We are awaiting that, but will respond to the fresh application moved on Wednesday in the court of Civil Judge, Senior Division, Mathura,” said Khan.

UP Sunni Central Waqf Board Chairman Zufar Farooqui said, “Because the courts were not fully functional in Mathura on Wednesday and Thursday due to Covid-19, we have not seen the application moved in this case. Our office in Mathura was also closed due to Covid-19. Once we get to see the application moved in the court, we will proceed with the action that has to be taken.”

He added, “These investigations must be stopped. They are against the Places of Worship Act, and serve no purpose.”

On April 13, the Sunni Waqf Board and the Gyanvapi Mosque committee moved the Allahabad High Court, urging it to restrain proceedings based on the Varanasi court’s order.

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