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Bhojshala case: Scientific survey of disputed medieval-era monument to begin on Friday

A detailed scientific investigation be conducted by adopting the carbon dating method for ascertaining the age, and life of various structures both above and beneath the ground, said Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 Dhar Published on: March 21, 2024 17:01 IST
Bhojshala complex
Image Source : X Bhojshala complex

The scientific survey of Bhojshala a disputed historic monument in the adjoining Dhar district by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is set to begin on Friday (22 March) following the Madhya Pradesh High Court's order.

The Additional Director General (ADG) of ASI, Prof Alok Tripathi wrote to Indore and Dhar authorities requesting to ensure safe access to the site to conduct the survey.

HC orders 'scientific survey' 

The development is a follow-up of the Madhya Pradesh High Court's order on March 11 to carry out a "scientific survey" of the Bhojshala complex a medieval-era structure which both Hindus and Muslims claim as their own within six weeks.

Hindus consider Bhojshala, an ASI-protected 11th century monument, to be a temple dedicated to Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati), while the Muslim community call it Kamal Maula Mosque.

As per an arrangement made by the ASI on April 7, 2003, Hindus perform puja in the Bhojshala premises on Tuesdays, while Muslims offer namaz in the complex on Fridays.

"..this court has drawn only one conclusion that Constitutional as well as statutory obligations of the ASI to have a scientific survey, study convened at the earliest of Bhojshala Temple and Kamal Maula Mosque," observed a division bench of the HC at Indore comprising Justices SA Dharmadhikari and Devnarayan Mishra.

Aggrieved by the direction, Dhar city's head cleric Waqar Sadiq said they (Kamal Maula Mosque management committee) will challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court.

The bench sought a comprehensive report of the survey to be prepared by a five-member expert committee of the ASI, a central body, within six weeks.

"A proper documented comprehensively drafted report prepared by an Expert Committee of not less than five (5) senior-most officers of ASI headed by the Director General/Additional Director General of the ASI himself be submitted before this Court within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of certified copy of this order," the court said in its 30-page order.

The HC direction came while hearing an application filed by an outfit called Hindu Front for Justice (HFJ).

According to the plea, survey by the ASI is a statutory duty, which should have done long back at the inspection stage when the "mystery and confusion" about the true character of Bhojshala Saraswati Temple (Bhojshala Temple)-cum-Maulana Kamal Maula Mosque arose, leading to disputes about its true status.

The plea was moved by HFJ president Ranjana Agnihotri and others against the Union of India and others. The bench later posted the matter for the next hearing on April 29.

Allowing the plea, the bench gave a number of directions to the ASI, asking it to use the latest methods and techniques for the survey, and laid down procedures for the entire exercise.
(With PTI inputs)

Also read: Bhojshala complex case: History, legality and other details | Know everything about the issue

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