Madhya Pradesh HC orders survey of Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque complex

Bhojshala and Kamal Maula mosque site, Dhar Madhya Pradesh. [Photo: Wikimedia Commons]

Indore: The Madhya Pradesh High Court has instructed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a comprehensive survey of the Bhojshala Temple cum Kamal Maula Mosque complex in the state’s Dhar district within the next six weeks.

The court emphasised the need to clarify and liberate the nature and identity of the complex from the prevailing confusion.

This complex, safeguarded by the ASI, is regarded by Hindus as a temple devoted to Goddess Vagdevi (Saraswati), while Muslims consider it the Kamal Maula Mosque. Under a 2003 arrangement, Hindus conduct worship on Tuesdays, and Muslims offer prayers on Fridays.

The Hindu Front for Justice, the petitioners in this case, contends that the Kamal Maula Mosque was constructed during the rule of Alauddin Khilji between the 13th and 14th centuries by dismantling ancient Hindu temples.

The High Court, comprising Justices Sushrut Arvind Dharmadhikari and Devnarayan Mishra, has mandated a thorough scientific investigation, survey, and excavation of the Bhojshala complex. The court directed the ASI to form an expert committee and complete the investigation using the latest methods, presenting the report within six weeks.

The court specified the use of carbon dating to determine the age of various structures above and below ground. It also ordered the unlocking and examination of sealed rooms and halls, creating a comprehensive inventory of artifacts, idols, deities, and structures for scientific scrutiny.

The Shahar Qazi of Dhar expressed the mosque’s intention to challenge the High Court ruling in the Supreme Court, as reported by Indian Express.

Meanwhile, the ASI said that a fresh survey was necessary to dispel confusion surrounding the complex’s status and claimed to have a report from 1902-03 indicating the pre-existence of the Bhojshala Temple of Vagdevi.

Amidst legal arguments, the state government supported the petitioners’ plea to resolve the long-standing misunderstanding between the communities, emphasising the communal strife arising from the confusion. The petitioner’s representative stressed that the ASI had a statutory duty to conduct a survey earlier to prevent disputes about the true character of the Bhojshala Saraswati Temple cum Maulana Kamal Maula Mosque.

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