India: UP Court Allows Lawsuit Asking for Removal of Shahi Idgah Mosque in Mathura

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The Shahi Idgah mosque is located next to a temple believed to be the birthplace of Krishna.

The Shahi Idgah mosque is located next to the temple.

A total of nine pleas had been pending at the Mathura court forwarding similar claims on the Shahi Idgah mosque.

Indian Express has reported that the District and Sessions judge Rajiv Bharti allowing the plea means that the civil suit will now be heard by a lower court.

Such lawsuits filed in the past in the matter had earlier been dismissed by courts on grounds that they were in violation of the Places of Worship Act of 1991, which maintains the religious status of any place of worship as it was on August 15, 1947. The Ayodhya Ram temple was the only exception to this Act.

One of the nine lawsuits has been filed by advocate Ranjana Agnihotri from Lucknow, as the “next friend of the infant Lord Krishna” of the Katra Keshav Dev temple.

Also read: ‘Kashi-Mathura Baaqi Hain’: Why the Ayodhya Verdict Won’t Offer Any Respite From Saffron Hatred

According to the petitioner, the Shahi Idgah mosque was built at the Krishna Janmabhoomi (birthplace of Krishna) on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1669-70. Currently, the Krishna Janmabhoomi complex, spanning 13.37 acres, stands there alongside the Shahi Idgah mosque, which the petitioner claims illegally came up on the temple land.

“As worshippers of Lord Krishna, we have the right to file a suit demanding restoration of his property. The mosque was wrongly built on Krishna Janmabhoomi. There was a compromise several years ago on the sharing of property, but that compromise was illegal,” NDTV quoted the petitioner’s lawyer, Gopal Khandelwal, as saying.

In 1968, a “compromise agreement” was signed between the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan, the temple management authority which is a registered society under law and the Trust Masjid Idgah in which the temple authority conceded the contentious portion of land to the Idgah, according to Indian Express.

Although the Ram temple in Ayodhya has dominated the efforts of Hindutva politics from the 1980s, Hindu fundamentalist groups have never concealed their intentions to build a campaign against mosques abutting Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi and Shrikrishna Janambhoomi in Mathura.

With the Supreme Court settling the long-drawn litigation into the Ram Janmabhoomi case in November 2019, the clamour for reclaiming purported “Hindu sites” in Mathura and Kashi has grown louder.

At present, cases are being heard in a Varanasi court and the Supreme Court following Hindu plaintiffs’ pleas to be allowed to pray at places within the Gyanvapi mosque.