Recently in an important development, the Varanasi court gave permission to the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a survey of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex. The court also asked the Director-General of ASI to constitute an expert panel of five members comprising two members from the Muslim community.
The Gyanvapi masjid has been constructed over the ruins of a section of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir. A petition was filed by lawyer Vijay Shankar Rastogi claims that the mosque was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb after demolishing a portion of the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The petitioner sought Muslims to be evicted from the complex area and demolition of the mosque structure, and he also requested the court to order the reconstruction of the Hindu temple in the premises.
Here, it is important to note that in 1998, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee approached the Allahabad High Court stating that the mandir-masjid land dispute cannot be adjudicated by a civil court as it was barred by the Places of Worship Act. Then the high court stayed the proceedings in the lower court where the matter was pending for 22 years.
What is Places of Worship Act?
In the early ’90s when the Ram Janmbhoomi and Babri Masjid dispute was at its height, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and several other Hindu organizations also laid claim to two other mosques — the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi and the Shahi Idgah in Mathura, as both were the mandirs of Bhagwan Shiva and Shri Krishna.
Hindu groups threatened to start agitations only in respect to these two places of worship. Sensing another Babri Mosque sort of demolition, in September 1991, the P.V. Narasimha Rao government enacted a special law to freeze the status of places of worship as they were on August 15, 1947.
This was a highly controversial law, which kept the disputed structure at Ayodhya out of its purview, mainly because it was the subject of prolonged litigation. But the cunning Congress government added few provisions to pre-empt new claims by any group about the past status of any place of worship and attempts to reclaim the structures or the land on which they stood. Congress’s government hailed this bill and called it an instrument to preserve communal harmony (read Pseudo Secularism) in the long run.
This was a highly biased law, which declares that the religious character of a place of worship shall continue to be the same as it was on August 15, 1947. It says no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section.
It also declares that any appeals, legal suits, or any concerns regarding converting the place of worship, which are pending before any court or authority on August 15, 1947, will abate as soon as the law comes into force. This law barred anyone to initiate any sort of legal proceedings.
BJP raised strong objections to this law
The Bharatiya Janata Party registered its strong opposition to this highly biased and Anti-Hindu enactment. The then BJP leadership denounced the Bill as a blatant example of the “pseudo-secularism” being practiced in the country.
BJP hailed this bill as an instrument to appease the Muslims and denounce Hindu sentiments. BJP also raised serious doubts on the Indian Parliament’s legislative competence to enact the law as it pertained to places of pilgrimages or burial grounds, which is actually under the State List. However, the Congress government maintained that it can use its residuary power under Entry 97 of the Union List to enact such law.
How Muslims are misusing it?
Recently BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay filed a PIL to challenge the provisions Of Places of Worship Act. Taking the stock of this PIL, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Central Government to put its views in public.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi slammed this PIL and said that the law protected from future illegalities against other masjids. He played the victim card and mentioned that Muslims had been told to ‘move on’ after the Ram Janmabhoomi verdict. He raised concerns over the Modi Government’s stance on this PIL and tried to instill fear in Muslims.
However, Owaisi should know that such victim card playing is only exposes the dual-standards of the Muslim community, when it comes to the implementation and compliance with the law of the land.
Here we are mentioning some important facts, which are sourced from ‘Masir i Alamgiri’ – Official account of reign of Aurangzeb by Mohd Saqi & Musta’idd Khan.
As per this book, Mughals ordered to demolish the temples on 9th April, 1669. On 2nd Sep 1669, the demolition of Kashi Vishwanath mandir happened, later the gyanwapi mosque was contructed over it.
In Jan 1670, during the month of Ramzan, Mughals ordered the demolition of the Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi mandir at Mathura.
Now as per the Places of Worship Gyanwapi mosque and Shahi Mosque built by demolishing Kashi Vishwanath Mandir and Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi mandir will stay a mosque, and no one will be able to challenge their existence legally.
Muslims are misusing this law to ensure their illegal constructions remain safe. For them Aurangzeb’s demolition of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir and Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi mandir is irrelevant. Muslims always give reference to the cut-off date, which is 15th Aug 1947.
Hypocrisy of Congress and Muslims
Do you know Muslim Personal Law is based on Fatawa ‘Alamgiri’, which was written during Aurangzeb’s time. So, Muslims are happily following the personal laws documented during Aurangzeb’s era in the 17th century, which indeed based on a Quran, which was written in the 7th century.
But when it comes to temples at Kashi, Mathura destroyed by Aurangzeb, the Congress Government and Muslims want the cut of date to be Aug 15, 1947.
We cannot have a cut-off date of Aug 15, 1947, for Hindus for their religious matters and a cut-off date of the 7th century for Muslims for their personal matters. Isn’t that the hypocrisy of the highest degree?
We may sound blunt, but we must say that the ‘Places of worship’ act was passed to preserve symbols of Jihad and Hindu oppression on our soul. This act must be taken back or amended to make it impartial.