Indian court orders survey of another historic mosque after Hindu group claims ownership

By Shuriah Niazi

NEW DELHI (AA):  A court in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday ordered the survey of the 17th century Shahi Idgah Mosque in Mathura, 57 kilometers (35 miles) north of Agra city, after a Hindu group claimed that the mosque was built on the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

The local court in Mathura asked the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a survey after Jan. 2. The report will be submitted after Jan. 20.

The lawsuit was filed by the right-wing outfit Hindu Sena’s leader Vishnu Gupta seeking ownership of the land of the historic Shahi Idgah Masjid. The mosque is adjacent to a temple, where Hindus believe Lord Krishna was born. The next date of the hearing has been fixed for Jan. 20.

Vishnu Gupta in his suite claimed that the Idgah was constructed by Aurangzeb on the 13.37 acres of Shri Krishna’s birthplace after demolishing the Sri Krishna temple.

The suit seeks the cancellation of an agreement between Sri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh and Shahi Idgah executed in the year 1968, claiming that it is illegal.

Many suits have been filed before the court demanding the demolition of the 17th-century Shahi Idgah Masjid, claiming it was built on Krishna Janambhumi’s property.

Muslims in India are concerned by the campaign of the Hindu right-wing groups to claim Muslim monuments and mosques.

Hindu groups in various Indian cities have claimed that mosques and monuments built during the Mughal era were built after razing Hindu temples.

-Campaign by right-wing Hindu groups

Muslim groups had opposed such a move, saying it was against the Places of Worship Act of 1991, which maintains the religious status of any place of worship as of Aug. 15, 1947.

Earlier, a court had ordered a similar survey of Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi after a suit was filed by five Hindu women seeking worshiping rights in the mosque compound.

Gyanvapi Mosque adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is at the center of an ongoing legal battle in India. The mosque is situated in Varanasi city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Hindus widely believe that the Gyanvapi Mosque was built on the orders of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb by pulling down a part of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in the 17th century.

After the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Gyanvapi is another medieval mosque that is being claimed by Hindus.

A persistent campaign by right-wing Hindu groups to claim Mughal-era monuments and historic mosques has raised a wave of concern among minorities, historians, and archaeologists across India.

Political analysts in India link BJP’s rise in India’s political landscape to the movement to build the grand Ram Tempe at the place of Babri Mosque in the city of Ayodhya.

On Dec. 6, 1992, the 16th-century Babri Mosque in the Indian city of Ayodhya was torn down by Hindu hardliners, who claimed the northern site was the birthplace of their lord Ram.

[Map of India by CIA Factbook/Public Domain]

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