Temple-mosque row | National

Fresh suit admitted in Mathura temple-mosque row

A view of the Potra Kund near the Shri Krishna Janmasthan and Shahi Idgah in Mathura on May 25, 2022.

A view of the Potra Kund near the Shri Krishna Janmasthan and Shahi Idgah in Mathura on May 25, 2022. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

A civil judge in Mathura, who began hearing the Shahi Idgah mosque-Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi dispute case, on Thursday admitted a fresh suit of advocate Ranjana Agnihotri, which has come back to the civil court on the directions of the district court earlier this month.

Significantly, a district court had last week overturned the civil court’s dismissal of Ms. Agnihotri’s suit, directing that it be considered afresh by the civil judge (senior division) in Mathura.

On these directions, civil judge (senior division) Jyoti admitted the suit on Thursday and asked the plaintiffs to serve a copy of the plaint to defendants.

The suit seeks ownership of the land on which the mosque is built, claiming that Lord Krishna was born there and that there are alleged signs of there having existed a temple at the site before.  

Ms. Agnihotri said, “We have been asked to serve copies of our suit to the defendants’ side and now the matter has been listed for the next hearing in July.”

Tanveer Ahmed, secretary of the Shahi Idgah Masjid management committee and its lawyer, said they were supposed to receive a copy of the plaint on Thursday but did not. He added that it would now be taken up in July as would the other suits pending in the dispute. 

However, this is not the only suit that has been admitted and where proceedings have begun. Advocate Mahendra Pratap, who was the first to follow Ms. Agnihotri’s initial suit, said his case was also being argued, where the hearing was underway on the plea filed by the mosque management committee under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Code of Procedure — which challenges the maintainability of the Hindu plaintiffs’ suit. 

Six civil suits

The mosque committee is currently defending six civil suits claiming ownership of the land on which it is built, Mr. Ahmed said, adding that the dismissal of Ms. Agnihotri’s suit in 2020 opened a floodgate — leading to suits piling up one after the other. 

Ms. Agnihotri’s initial suit was filed in September 2020 and was quickly dismissed, following which Mr. Mahendra Pratap filed his suit in December of the same year. “After Mahendra, one Manish Yadav filed a suit, then advocate Shailendra Singh, then another by the Hindu Mahasabha and the others followed,” Mr. Ahmed said, adding that the suits seemed to be filed with the intention of getting publicity.

Ms. Agnihotri, Mr. Mahendra Pratap, and Mr. Ahmed have all agreed that at some point, the suits should be consolidated and tried and other similar suits should be barred. Even as Ms. Agnihotri said a lot of the additional suits had copy-pasted material from hers, Mr. Mahendra Pratap said, “Such suits may end up hurting our cause.”  

Common point

Almost all the suits have raised the same point of contention — the alleged illegality of a compromise between the mosque’s management committee and the Shreekrishna Janm Sthan Sewa Sansthan in 1968. 

The plaintiffs have questioned the right of the Sewa Sansthan to enter into the compromise since the ownership and management of the land was with the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust. They have added that the Trust allegedly failed to protect the interest of the deity and its worshippers. 

In addition to the Trust, the Sewa Sansthan and the mosque management, the plaintiffs have arrayed the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board as one of the defendants.

Mr. Ahmed said that even though they had been served notice for six suits until now, there were more suits and applications being filed every other day. 

Plea to ban azaan

Meanwhile, another plaintiff in one of the six suits related to the dispute on Thursday filed an application seeking to ban azaan calls from the loudspeakers of the Shahi Idgah mosque until the main suit was decided. 

Dinesh Kaushik of the All India Hindu Mahasabha claimed that the azaan call was an “infringement” of the constitutional rights of “Sanatani Hindus” like him.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 8:05:04 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mathura-temple-mosque-row-fresh-suit-admitted/article65464683.ece