The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in Karnataka has demanded that a survey by the court should be conducted in the Malali mosque in Mangaluru. When a portion of the mosque was demolished on May 31 for renovation, a temple-like structure was found inside it.
A second petition was filed in the court demanding a survey of the structure by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The management of the mosque submitted in the court that under the provisions of the Places of Worship Act, 1991, the petition by Hindus is not maintainable.
Chidananda Kedalaya, the lawyer representing Hindus said, “They (Muslim side) have claimed that under the Places of Worship Act the suit is not maintainable, but we believe it is. It is an ancient monument and there is an exception for such buildings under the provisions of law. So, we will be filing a detailed objection tomorrow (Wednesday).”
The controversy erupted when earthmovers were deployed to bring down a portion of the mosque for renovation. When the portion was pulled down, people noticed a temple-like structure. “During the process, an alleged temple-like structure came to some people’s notice. JCB workers deployed at the mosque might have clicked photographs of the structure and shared them online,” Hindustan Times quoted a senior police officer.
A similar court monitored survey was recently completed in the Gyanvapi structure in Varanasi. The report submitted in the court states that there are multiple swastikas, trishuls and deities in the Gyanvapi structure. The survey also found a Shivalinga in the compound.
Section 4(1) of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, declares that the religious character of a place of worship “shall continue to be the same as it existed” on August 15, 1947. The Act was brought in by the Congress government in 1991.
Opposing the bill in the Parliament, BJP leader Uma Bharti had said, “maintenance of status quo as in 1947 in respect of religious places is like closing eyes similar to that of pigeons against advancement of cats. This…will mean preservation of tensions for the coming generations…Was not the intention of Aurangzeb behind leaving remnants of the temple (he destroyed) at the site of mosque (Gyanvapi), to keep reminding Hindus of their historical fate and to remind coming generations of Muslims of their past glory and power?”
Two petitions, challenging the constitutionality of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, are pending before the Supreme Court.