Monday 26 October 2020

Mathura court admits plea to remove mosque that shadows birthplace of Krishna

The Mathura temples, including the one built where Lord Krishna was born, were destroyed multiple times by Muslim invaders, the last of all by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1670

A local court in Mathura today admitted a plea that seeks to remove a mosque adjacent to the Krishna Janmabhoomi. The court of District Judge Sadhna Rani Thakur has fixed 18 November as the next date of hearing in the case.

Earlier, a civil court in Mathura had dismissed the plea seeking an order to remove the Shahi Idgah mosque.

In her 30 September order, Judge Chhaya Sharma had said that Lord Krishna had countless devotees but if every devotee was allowed to file a suit like this, it would jeopardise the judicial and social system.

Hari Shankar Jain, the lawyer for the petitioners, said Judge Thakur had observed that in case the trustees were not approaching the court, the devotees could. He maintained the Place of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, did not apply to the case.

Lucknow-based advocate Ranjana Agnihotri and seven others — on behalf of the child deity Bhagwan Shri Krishna Virajman — have filed the suit. The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Committee of Management of Trust of Shahi Idgah are the defendants in the suit. The Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust, Mathura, and Shri Krishna Janma Sthan Seva Sansthan are parties to the legal dispute too.

The suit seeks cancellation of the decree passed in July 1973 by Civil Judge, Mathura, and recovery of 13.37 acres of land situated within the area of the temple.

When Muslim invaders seized Mathura, the first capital of Lord Krishna

The Krishna Janmasthan Temple Complex is a group of Hindu temples in Mallapura in Mathura of Uttar Pradesh. These temples are built around the place where Lord Krishna was born. Documented history says the place has held religious significance since the 6th century BC.

Muslims destroyed the Mathura temples multiple times throughout history. The last of them was Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1670. He had destroyed the temple and erected Shahi Eidgah Masjid there.

Mughal prince Dara Shikoh had patronised the temple and donated a railing to the temple. The railing was removed by Mathura governor Abdun Nabi Khan on the order of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and he built Jama mosque on the ruins of a Hindu temple in the city center. During the Jat rebellion in Mathura, Abdul Nabi Khan was killed in 1669. Aurangzeb attacked Mathura in repsonse and destroyed the Keshavdeva temple in 1670, later building the Shahi Eidgah on part of its area. Its idols were meanwhile buried beneath the steps of the Jahanara mosque in Agra.

An underground cell believed to be the place of Krishna’s birth is located behind the Eidgah qibla (another name for Ka’bah, also an honorific) wall. In the 20th century, the new temple complex was built with the financial help from industrialists containing the Keshavdeva temple, the Garbha Griha temple at the birthplace and the Bhagavata Bhavan.

Srimadbhagavata and Mahabharata hold that, after slaying Kamsa, Krishna and His elder brother Balarama defended Mathura from repeated attacks by Jarasansha and Shishupala. While the divine brothers defeated the attackers in every battle, the lord decided to move to Dwaraka (now submerged beneath the Arabian Ocean adjacent to the coast of Gujarat) to spare the people of Mathura the woes of frequent wars.

Krishna is the supreme deity for the Vaishnava sect of Hinduism. According to Todd M Johnson and Brian J Grim’s The World’s Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography, Vaishnavas constitute the largest sect in Hinduism. Other sects of Hindus, namely Shaivas, Shaktas, Smarthas, etc, revere Lord Krishna too.

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