In the ongoing Shahi Idgah Masjid-Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi dispute in Mathura, a fresh civil suit was filed on Friday, seeking that members of the public be stopped from visiting the Begum Sahiba Masjid near the Agra Red Fort’s Deewan-e-Khas.
The suit claimed that “jewel-studded idols” from Mathura’s Keshav Dev temple were buried under the staircase of the Agra mosque by Mughal emperor Aurangazeb when he allegedly destroyed the temple.
Advocate Mahendra Pratap Singh, one of the first plaintiffs in the dispute, has filed this fresh suit before the Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mathura. The suit has arrayed the Union of India, the Director-General of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), and ASI officials in Mathura and Agra as defendants.
Mr. Singh told The Hindu that the court on Friday directed the plaintiffs to serve a legal notice to the defendants under Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which mandates that 60 days’ time be given to the defendants to respond to the notice. “The court asked us to serve them the notice and then come back to it,” Mr. Singh said.
Pleas for excavation
Claiming that the idols continue to be buried under the staircase of the Begum Sahiba Mosque in Agra, the suit seeks that visitors be stopped from entering the mosque by “trampling on the idols”. Moreover, the suit has sought directions to the relevant authorities for these claimed idols to be excavated from the Agra mosque site and returned to the temple authorities in Mathura.
In Mathura, more than half a dozen civil suits have been filed, seeking ownership of the land on which the Shahi Idgah Mosque is built, on behalf of Lord Krishna, claiming that he was born at the site. The suits also claim that there are symbols in the mosque premises that prove that a temple predated the mosque at the site.
In addition to Mr. Singh’s suit, which is being heard currently, another suit, that of Advocate Ranjana Agnihotri, has also been admitted.
Ms. Agnihotri was the first to file a suit in the dispute in September 2020. After her suit was dismissed by a civil court, a district court had last week directed that it be heard by the civil court afresh, following which it was admitted on Thursday. The suits relating to the Mathura temple-mosque dispute, including Ms. Agnihotri’s and Mr. Singh’s, have now been listed for next hearing in July.