After Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi, focus shifts to Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid dispute : The Tribune India

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After Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi, focus shifts to Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid dispute

The Supreme Court on Friday refuses to stay the Allahabad High Court’s order to appoint an advocate commissioner for a court-monitored survey of the Shahi Idgah premises adjoining the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple

After Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi, focus shifts to Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid dispute

Photo for representation. PTI



Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, December 15

After the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute, the focus is now on another place of Hindu religious significance—the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid. 

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the Allahabad High Court’s order to appoint an advocate commissioner for a court-monitored survey of the Shahi Idgah premises adjoining the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh—the state where Ayodhya and Varanasi are also located.

A Bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna told senior counsel Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the Muslim side that petitioners are free to move the top court if any adverse orders are passed by the high court.

Just like the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi, the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid issue has also been carrying on for long with several petitions pending before the high court.

The court on Thursday allowed an application seeking the appointment of a commission to inspect the mosque complex.

The Hindu side claims the mosque was constructed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb by demolishing a temple on 13.37 acres of Lord Krishna’s birthplace. According to the petitioners, the “compromise agreement” in October 1968 between the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan and the Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah was “illegal and void”.

Petitioners include ‘friend’ of Shri Krishna

Petitioners also urged the high court to pass an order directing the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Shahi Idgah mosque committee to remove the construction raised by them encroaching upon the land in dispute and direct them to hand it over to the Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi Trust.

As in the case involving the now-resolved Ram Janmabhoomi issue, petitioners believe the mosque was constructed over the birthplace of Lord Krishna. The latest application has been filed by eight people, including the “friend” of Bhagwan Shri Krishna Virajman, according to reports.  

Those familiar with the case say the person representing the deity in worldly matters is known informally as the ‘friend’ of God. For instance, in the case of Ram Lalla, VHP leader Triloki Nath Pandey became the “friend” in 2008 and remained so till the end of the case.

Claims and counter-claims

While the Hindu side argues that it was part of the history and records that Aurangzeb issued orders for demolition of many Hindu religious places and temples, including the one at Mathura, the Muslim side disagrees.

They say the birthplace of Lord Krishna does not lie beneath the mosque and the claim by the Hindu petitioners is based on “guess work and is not substantiated by any documentary evidence”. They also cite the Places of Worship Act, which had held the Ayodhya case as an exception. 

The Act was enacted to freeze the status of religious places of worship as they existed on August 15, 1947, and prohibits the conversion of any place of worship and ensures the maintenance of their religious character.

The politics

Reacting to the high court’s order, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi wrote a long post on ‘X’, claiming that “robbing Muslims of their dignity is the only goal now”.

“Whether it is Kashi, Mathura or Lucknow’s Tiley Wali Masjid, it’s the same group,” he wrote.

“Allahabad HC has allowed the survey of Mathura’s Shahi Idgah masjid. After Babri Masjid judgement, I’d said that it’ll embolden Sangh Parivar’s mischiefs. This is despite Places of Worship Act prohibiting such litigation.

“The Mathura dispute was settled decades ago by mutual consent between Masjid Committee and the temple’s Trust.  The Places of Worship Act is still the law in force. But this group has made a mockery of the law and the judicial process. The SC was supposed to hear this matter on January 9, so what was the hurry that a survey had to be ordered? 

“Please don’t preach “give and take” when one side is interested in constantly targeting Muslims But law doesn’t matter anymore. Robbing Muslims of their dignity is the only goal now,” he said.

Hindu groups say Muslims should voluntarily give up the two religious sites in Mathura and Varanasi. “It is a matter of fact and history that Aurangzeb ruled over the country from 1658-1707 AD and being a staunch follower of Islam issued orders for demolition of a large number of Hindu religious places and temples, including the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple,” they add.

In 2022, the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi issue became a major political flashpoint not just in Uttar Pradesh but across the country with saffron groups pointing to “similar cases” elsewhere.

To build a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya has been the BJP’s poll plank for decades.  

The consecration/'pran pratishtha’ at the ‘janmasthan’ next year is something that the saffron party hopes will be a “proof” that it was a party that fulfils promises, in this case the ‘mandir wahin banayenge’ pledge. The Ram temple at his ‘janmasthan’ along with the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir are expected to feature among the top achievements of the Narendra Modi government in the BJP’s 2024 manifesto. 

 

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