MP: Muslims sporting black bands offer namaz at Bhojshala complex to protest ‘excavation’
GH News May 24, 2024 11:44 PM

Dhar: Members of the Muslim community sporting black bands offered prayers at Bhojshala in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district on Friday to protest against the alleged excavation in some parts of the 11th-century complex, terming it as a violation of the Supreme Court directive.

A large number of Muslims turned up for the Friday namaz sporting black bands to protest the alleged physical excavation carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India as part of the court-mandated survey.

The ASI has been surveying the structure for the last 64 days as per the directives of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Hindus consider Bhojshala, an ASI-protected 11th-century monument, to be a temple dedicated to Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati), while the Muslim community call it Kamal Maula Mosque.

The Hindu side’s advocate, Shreesh Dube, said that leaders of the Muslim community were misinterpreting the apex court directive on the issue.

“We have submitted a memorandum addressed to the President of India citing that despite the Supreme Court’s directive not to conduct physical excavation at the site, the ASI is excavating walls of the mosque and weakening them,” Kamal Maula’s mosque official Zulfikar Pathan told reporters after the Friday namaz.

Leaders of the community had raised the issue last Friday and announced that they would sport black bands in protest if there is no change in the ASI’s ongoing survey, he said.

Pathan said they were staging a silent protest but will intensify their agitation if their demand is not heard.

In April, the Supreme Court refused to stay the “scientific survey” of the Bhojshala complex, making it clear that no physical excavation should be taken which would change the character of the premises in question.

However, Dube said, “The Supreme Court had said in its order that excavation should be done in such a manner that it will not change the basic structure of the site. The ASI is conducting its survey as per the necessity.”

He claimed the Muslim community leaders were misinterpreting the SC’s directive and engaging in a misleading campaign on the issue.

Under an arrangement made by the ASI on April 7, 2003, Hindus perform puja on the Bhojshala premises on Tuesdays, and Muslims offer ‘namaz’ in the complex on Fridays.

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