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‘Mathura court order not survey like Gyanvapi, just an inspection,’ says Shahi Idgah’s counsel

It has been alleged the mosque was built on land believed to be Krishna's birthplace. Tanveer Ahmad, Shahi Idgah's counsel, says they'll challenge court order on 2 January.

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Mathura, Uttar Pradesh: The civil court (senior division) at Mathura earlier this month ordered its amin to conduct an inspection of the Shahi Idgah mosque’s complex and submit a map of the same by 20 January.

The court was hearing a petition that claims that the mosque is built at the birthplace of Lord Krishna and seeks that the land be handed over to the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple authority. Since the 8 December court order, the security around both the temple and the mosque complexes has been increased.

The court had admitted a case filed by Delhi-based Vishnu Gupta — founder of Hindu Sena, a non-profit for the upliftment of the Hindu community — on the disputed land where the Shahi Idgah mosque stands, on the same day it passed the inspection order.

Multiple petitions have been filed by Hindu petitioners in the past two years which claim that the mosque land belongs to the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple Sansthan, which is the temple managing authority. The petitions add that the mosque is built over the remains of Lord Krishna temple and a “survey” on the lines of Gyanvapi mosque should be ordered in Shahi Idgah mosque as well.

Shahi Idgah Mosque Committee secretary Tanveer Ahmad, who is also the lawyer representing the mosque’s case, said “there is no dispute over the mosque land” and that he will challenge the court order on 2 January, when the court reopens.

Speaking to ThePrint, Ahmad also made it clear that the court has ordered an ‘inspection’, not a ‘survey’.

“The court’s order is not on the lines of Gyanvapi mosque survey. It is a simple inspection where the amin has to simply go and note down what is inside the mosque complex. It is a publicity stunt by the petitioners to project it like the Gyanvapi mosque survey. They have no stake either on the mosque land or in the temple management committees,” said Ahmad.

Shahi Idgah mosque secretary Tanveer Ahmad. | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Shahi Idgah mosque secretary Tanveer Ahmad. | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

Meanwhile, advocate Shailesh Dubey, representing the petitioner, told ThePrint that their case will stand strong in the court and they have evidence, including old revenue records, to prove that the land allegedly occupied by Shahi Idgah mosque belongs to the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Sansthan.

“We have records which we will present in the court when the time comes. Our demands are that if any encroachment is found on the temple land, it should be demolished and handed over to the temple authorities and till the time the case goes on, no changes should be made to the mosque complex,” said Dubey.

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‘Court order hasn’t disrupted peace’

Schools are on winter break and business has picked up for the local shops selling souvenirs, prayer material, freshly-brewed tea and sweets. Adjacent to the temple, divided only by a boundary wall, stands the Shahi Idgah mosque. In contrast to the hustle and bustle around the temple, the narrow lanes leading to it are deserted.

The police stand guard not just at the mosque’s gate, but also at the entry of the lanes leading to the mosque. The locals are allowed entry only after they show their Aadhaar cards and the area is out of reach for visitors.

While the local devotees at the mosque and the temple say the court’s order has not disrupted the peace between the two communities, the Muslim residents around the mosque ThePrint spoke to said that may not be the case once the inspection takes place next month.

“The inspection order is the only issue people are discussing these days. The locals do not want the status quo disturbed. But the outsiders are filing cases in Mathura over the mosque land. It is a political agenda to disturb peace,” said Pappu Khan, who runs a mechanic shop near the mosque.

  Pappu Khan, a local mechanic at Azad Market. | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

Pappu Khan, a local mechanic at Azad Market. | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

Sushil Kumar, who has been running a souvenir shop on the temple side for the past 15 years, said police presence has increased, more so on the mosque side. “There are more policemen and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) men on duty now. Though the local Hindus and Muslims have not had any direct conflict over the mosque’s land issue, we (Hindus) know that the land belongs to us,” said Kumar. He added that the court case will ultimately be in favour of the Hindus.

(Edited by Smriti Sinha)

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