On Wednesday (May 11), the Madhya Pradesh High Court admitted a petition seeking a stay on the offering of Namaz by Muslims in the complex of the Bhojshala monument in the Dhar district of the State.
The Court had also issued notices to the Government of Madhya Pradesh, the Union government and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The petition was filed by an organisation named ‘Hindu Front For Justice’, which had challenged an order by ASI Director-General on April 7, 2003.
The order by the ASI had allowed Muslims to offer Namaz in the complex of the 11th-century monument, which the community refers to as ‘Kamal Maula Mosque.’ The Hindu group argued that the monument is connected to the sentiments of the followers of Sanatan Dharma.
“Unfortunately, the magnificent temple and place of learning at Bhojshala was damaged by Muslim rulers in 1305, 1401 and 1514 AD but they could not change the religious character of Bhojshala and it continues to be the place of Divinity as well as of reverence and Hindus pay homage to this place and they perform Pooja there. The Pasant Utsav is celebrated every year at the said place,” the petition read.
The Hindu group also sought the establishment of the idol of Goddess Saraswati (Vagdevi) in the Bhojshala complex and the production of coloured photographs of the inscriptions within the complex. It also asked the Union government to conduct radiocarbon dating of the artefacts, and sculptures, which are located inside the monument.
The petition said, “The destruction of a temple and its continuance in the same form is a continued trauma for the worshippers denying them to achieve spiritual power and in such a situation the life of worshippers remain in jeopardy giving day to day tease and feeling of humiliation done by the invader and such continued wrong has to be rectified under the sweep of Article 13(1) of the Constitution of India to protect the life and religious rights guaranteed under Article 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India.”
The matter was heard by Justices Vivek Rusia and Amar Nath Kesharwani. The Madhya Pradesh High Court found merit in the petition filed by the ‘Hindu Front For Justice’ and noted that other petitions, pertaining to the issue, were pending before it.
“Counsel for the parties jointly submit that the similar issue is already under challenge in W.PNo.(s) 6514/2013, 1089/2016 and 28334/2019 pending before this court. Counsel for the petitioner submits that he has filed some more documents which are not available in those writ petitions strengthening the claim of this present petitioner,” it stated.
The Judges added, “Therefore, they may be permitted to file this petition in the nature of Public Interest Litigation (PIL). Since, a similar issue is under challenge and the Archaeological Survey of India is contesting the matter, therefore, the petition is admitted. Issue notice.”