03/23/2024, 10.02
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Madhya Pradesh, archaeologists inspect Dham mosque disputed by Hindus

by Nirmala Carvalho

On the strength of their triumph in Ayodhya, nationalists linked to the BJP took the case of the Kamal Maula, an Islamic place of worship that allegedly stood where there was a temple of the goddess Sarasvati in the 11th century, to the local High Court. Local Muslims: we will continue to pray here five times a day.

Bhopal (AsiaNews) - Escorted by the police on Friday 22 March, a team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) began inspecting the historic Bhojshala/Kamal Maula complex in the city of Dhar, a new case of a mosque in India which Hindu nationalists believe it was built on a pre-existing Hindu temple.

The case mirrors that of Ayodhya, the disputed site in Uttar Pradesh where just a few weeks ago Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the monumental Ram Mandir, a Hindu temple built after a mosque was razed to the ground by nationalists who claimed it because it was there according to tradition the god Ram would be born.

In the case of the Dhar mosque, Hindus claim that it was originally a temple of goddess Sarasvati built by King Parawara Bhoja in the 11th century AD. The mosque was built using the structures of the temple and according to nationalists, some slabs with inscriptions from Sanskrit literary works, the sacred language of the Hindus, are still visible in the Muslim building. Known as a great patron of art and literature, Bhoja founded a school, known as Bhojashala.

Strengthened by the outcome of the Ayodhya affair, the local Hindu nationalist groups - in government with the BJP in Madhya Pradesh - raised the issue to the local High Court, which ordered the inspection of the national archaeological body.

The ASI team conducted a thorough inspection inside the sacred complex, accompanied by Ashish Goyal and Gopal Sharma, two members of the local Hindu community. The archaeologists refrained from making any comments and left around midday, before Friday prayers.

Both Goyal and Sharma instead stressed that the signs and evidence found inside the Bhojshala "are indicative of its status as a Hindu temple".

Meanwhile Qazi Waqar Sadiq, representative of the Muslim community of the Kamal Maula mosque, has raised serious accusations against the body carrying out the investigation. He claimed that neither a person from his community nor a member of the Kamal Maula Committee was summoned by the ASI for consultation.

Stating the importance of the mosque, Sadiq said they will continue to pray there five times a day. He also expressed his willingness to take the issue to the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the New Delhi Supreme Court, asking for legal recognition of the Muslim place of worship.

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