Plea seeking ‘right to worship’ for Jain community at disputed Bhojshala complex withdrawn

INDORE, Jul 5 : A writ petition filed in the Madhya Pradesh High Court seeking right to worship for the Jain community at the Bhojshala-Kamal Maula mosque complex in Dhar was withdrawn on Friday on technical grounds. The petition, filed by Delhi-based social activist Salekchand Jain, claimed that the disputed premises once housed a Jain Gurukul and a Jain temple where idols of Goddess Ambika were installed. Justice Pranay Verma of the Indore bench of the high court, while hearing the writ petition, orally observed that the petition has neither been submitted in a proper format nor the reason for delay in filing it has been explained. Jain’s lawyers then withdrew the petition and sought the court’s permission to file a fresh application in the prescribed format. The petition was later withdrawn after the single bench court gave its nod for it. It (the petition) claimed that there used to be a Jain Gurukul and Jain temple in the Bhojshala premises where students were educated by Jain monks and scholars and the work of translation of texts in Sanskrit, Prakrit and other languages was also done in this premises, so the people of Jain community should be given the right to worship at this place. The petition also claimed that the idol in the Bhojshala complex, which the Hindu community is describing as an idol of Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati) is actually the idol of Goddess Ambika (Jain Yakshini) of the Jain community, which was installed in this complex by King Bhoj of Dhar in 1034 AD. The petition had sought that the statue, which was kept in a museum in London, should be brought back to India and reinstalled in the Bhojshala premises of Dhar. The Hindu community considers Bhojshala as a temple of Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati), while the Muslim side calls this 11th century monument as Kamal Maula Mosque. The complex is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). On March 11, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had ordered the ASI to conduct a scientific survey of the Bhojshala-Kamal Maula mosque complex on an application by an organisation called “Hindu Front for Justice”. The ASI started surveying the disputed complex from March 22, which ended recently. As per the high court order, the ASI has to submit the complete survey report of the disputed premises by July 15. (PTI)

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