Temple demolished to build mosque in Mathura: ASI

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has provided information regarding the historical records of the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple complex in Mathura, in response to an RTI query. The ASI disclosed an excerpt from a Nov 1920 gazette, which stated that a temple of Keshavdev once stood on portions of the Katra mound. “Portions of Katra mound which are not in the possession of nazul tenants on which formerly stood a temple of Keshavdev which was dismantled and the site utilised for the mosque of Aurangzeb…” ASI stated.

ASI replies to RTI

The RTI was filed by Ajay Pratap Singh, a resident of Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh. Although the RTI reply did not explicitly mention the term ‘Krishna Janmabhoomi,’ it confirmed the demolition of the Keshavdev temple by the Mughal emperor, a TOI report said.

Boost to Krishna Janmbhoomi litigants

The confirmation has provided encouragement to those involved in the legal battle for the removal of the Shahi Idgah mosque from the site. Advocate Mahendra Pratap Singh, president of Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Mukti Nyas and one of the petitioners against the mosque, plans to present this significant piece of evidence to the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court. Singh stated that the ASI’s reply, along with the historical evidence, supports their claim that Aurangzeb issued a decree in 1670 CE to demolish the Keshavdev temple. He believes that this strengthens their demand for a survey of the Shahi Idgah mosque and excludes it from the purview of the Place of Worship Act, 1991.

Recently, the Supreme Court extended the interim stay on the Allahabad High Court’s order for a court-monitored survey of the Shahi Idgah mosque complex in Mathura. The stay order will remain in effect until the first half of April.

Next hearing in Allahabad HC on February 22

The Allahabad High Court has scheduled February 22 for the hearing of a petition concerning the viability of a lawsuit aiming to dismantle the Shahi Idgah mosque in Mathura. The suit contends that the mosque occupies 13.37 acres of land belonging to the Katra Keshav Deo temple. The court set this date as the Hindu party failed to submit its response to the challenge on the lawsuit’s viability.

Justice Mayank Kumar Jain emphasized the necessity of submitting an application on the lawsuit’s viability, which the court will review on February 22. Additionally, the court warned that no further extensions would be granted for parties to file objections, written statements, and rejoinder affidavits in the 18 suits brought forth by Bhagwan Shri Krishna Virajman and others at Katra Keshav Dev Khewat. Senior advocate Manish Goyal served as amicus curiae, as directed by the court in previous proceedings on January 17, when the Hindu party was given time to respond to a motion filed by the Muslim party regarding the lawsuit’s viability.

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William Murphy

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