Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid Dispute

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What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Why in News?
  • The History of the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid Dispute
  • What led to the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid Dispute?
  • The Latest Plea in the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid Dispute Case
  • The Muslim Side’s Counterclaims
  • The Case so Far and Gyanvapi Order
  • What Happened in the Gyanvapi Mosque Case?

Why in News?

  • Putting the focus back on the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid dispute, the Allahabad High Court allowed an application seeking the appointment of a commission to inspect the mosque complex.
  • The petitioners believe that the mosque, built on the orders of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1670, was constructed atop the birthplace of Lord Krishna in Mathura.

The History of the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid Dispute

  • The mosque was built by Aurangzeb in 1670 on the site of an earlier temple.
  • The area was regarded as nazul land - non-agricultural state land owned by the Marathas, and then the British.
  • Before the mosque was built, Raja Veer Singh Bundela of Orchha had also built a temple on the same premises in 1618.
  • In 1815, Raja Patni Mal of Benaras bought the 13.77 acres in an auction from the East India Company.
  • The Raja’s descendants (Rai Kishan Das and Rai Anand Das) sold the land to Jugal Kishore Birla for Rs 13,400, and it was registered in the names of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, and others.
  • The Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust was set up by Birla, and it acquired the ownership rights over the Katra Keshav Dev temple.
  • In 1951, the 13.77 acres were placed in the trust, with the condition that the “trust property will never be sold or pledged.”
  • In 1956, the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Sewa Sangh was set up to manage the affairs of the temple.
    • In 1977, the word ‘Sangh’ in the registered society’s name was replaced with ‘Sansthan.’

What led to the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid Dispute?

  • The petition filed by the Hindu side says that Aurangzeb (during his rule) had issued orders for demolition of a large number of Hindu religious places and temples.
    • This includes the temple standing at the birthplace of Lord Shree Krishna at Katra Keshav Dev, Mathura.
  • The petition claims that the army of Aurangzeb partly succeeded to demolish Keshav Dev Temple and a construction was forcibly raised (Idgah Mosque) showing the might of power.
  • The petition also says that the order (for demolition) passed by Aurangzeb finds place in the Official Court Bulletin (Akhbarat) of (Jan - Feb) 1670.
  • It also says that a “compromise agreement” of 1968 between the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan and the Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah was “illegal and void”.
    • This is because the Shree Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh had no right over the property involved.

The Latest Plea in the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid Dispute Case

  • It seeks a survey of the Shahi Idgah mosque - which was allowed by a Bench of Allahabad HC recently.
  • The petition also pleads that the HC passes 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.
  • The petition further asks the court to direct the two opposing parties to hand over the land to the Shree Krishna Janmbhoomi Trust within the time provided by the court.
  • The plea further seeks an order restraining the Waqf Board and the mosque committee from entering into premises of the 13.37 acres of land at Katra Keshav Dev City, Mathura.

The Counterclaims

  • The Shahi Idgah Mosque does not fall within the ambit of 13.37 acres of land at Katra Keshav Dev.
  • Place of birth of Lord Krishna does not lie beneath the Mosque. The claim of plaintiffs is based on guesswork and is not substantiated by any documentary evidence.

The Case so Far and Gyanvapi Order

  • At least a dozen cases were filed in courts in Mathura by different petitioners.
  • A common thread in all the petitions is a prayer for the removal of the mosque from the 13.77-acre complex.
  • Earlier, the Allahabad HC had transferred to itself all the suits on the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid dispute.
  • The latest Mathura order is similar to the one in Varanasi’s Gyanvapi Mosque, also built adjacent to a venerated Hindu temple.

What Happened in the Gyanvapi Mosque Case?

  • A videographic survey of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque was completed by a Commission appointed by the local court.
  • During the survey proceedings, a structure which the Hindu side claimed was a “shivling”, and the Muslim side claimed was a “fountain”, was found to be inside the mosque premises.
  • Subsequently, a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex was ordered by the Varanasi district court.
  • This time the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had been directed to undertake scientific investigation/survey/excavation at the property in question.
  • The survey was halted after the mosque committee approached the Allahabad HC and then the SC seeking a stay on the survey.
  • Both the courts cleared the decks for the survey which was resumed amid tight security arrangements. The ASI teams have been surveying the campus since.

Q1) Why are Aurangzeb's religious policies being criticised?

Aurangzeb was known for his strict and orthodox understanding of Islam. As a result, Hindu temples were demolished, non-Muslims were subjected to discriminatory taxes, and religious minorities were persecuted.

Q2) What is the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)?

The ASI, under the Ministry of Culture, was established in the year 1861, and is the premier organisation for the archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.


Source: Allahabad HC allows courtmonitored inspection of Mathura’s Shahi Idgah mosque