Thursday 26 May 2022
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Delhi court restrains ASI from removing Ganesha idols from Qutb Minar complex

Appellant Hari Shankar Jain had urged the Delhi court to restrain the ASI from removing the idol and placing it in the National Museum or any other property

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A Delhi court has asked the Archaeological of India (ASI) to maintain the status quo in the Qutb Minar complex with respect to the Hindu heritage seen in the compound, observing that it could not lose sight of the appellants who had filed a suit asking it to restrain the body from retrieving two Ganesha idols from the area.

The National Monuments Authority (NMA) had asked the ASI to retrieve the two Ganesha idols from the Qutb Minar complex after the authority’s chairman said that the placement of the idols was “disrespectful”. The NMA had urged the ASI to move the idols to the National Museum.

Principal deity Lord Rishabh Dev had moved the suit, asking the court to restrain the ASI from removing the idol of Ganesh and to place the idol with “due respect at a respectable place within property involved in the suit.”

Additional District Judge Nikhil Chopra at the Saket court said that he was of the opinion that the concern of the appellant could not be overlooked. The court has asked the respondents to maintain the status quo until the next date of hearing when the arguments on the maintainability of the application would be heard too.

“The court is of the opinion that the concern of the appellant cannot be lost sight of. Although it is impressed by the respondents/ASI that they do not contemplate the removal of the idols at this stage, Counsel for the respondents/ASI has candidly stated that he has no directions as to whether there is any possibility of relocation of idols in near future,” the court said.

The suit filed by advocate Hari Shankar Jain also appealed to the court to restrain the ASI from removing the idol and placing it in the National Museum or any other property.

The suit stated that it is a matter of national shame that Lord Ganapati, who is worshipped by crores of Hindus, was lying within the property mentioned in the lawsuit in a “very pitiable condition hurting the sentiments of crores of devotees of Lord Ganesh.”

The lawsuit stated that it was the duty of the ASI director to maintain all deities and idols with due respect keeping in view the religious sentiments of Hindus.

“The ASI has no power or jurisdiction to send the idol of Lord Ganesh outside the area of property in suit as suggested by Chairman, NMI,” the lawsuit read.

The appellants told the court that “every pratima of gods and goddesses is suit property and the same cannot be removed from the property in dispute and cannot be said anywhere else as the object of worship cannot be removed by ASI from the property in question.”

The two idols are called Ulta Ganesh and Ganesha in Cage, located in the compound of the 12th-century monument, which was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993.

The ‘Ulta Ganesh’ (upside down) is part of the south-facing wall of the Quwwat Ul Islam in the complex. The other idol, enclosed in an iron cage, is close to the ground level and is part of the same mosque.

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