Secular Action Network Volume 1, Issue 1

Agitations in Kolhapur to protest against BJP for suppressing voice of Hindus

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Agitations in Kolhapur to protest against BJP for suppressing voice of Hindus.

Generally, every Tuesday Hindus offer prayers at Bhojshala while Muslims offer Namaz every Friday. During the Basant Panchami festival, Hindus are allowed to perform puja at the monument the whole day.

The above arrangement was made following regular disputes between the two communities. Coincidentally, Basant Panchami and the Friday Jumma Namaz this year are falling on the same day--February 15. Some Hindu organisations have demanded that they should be allowed to offer prayers at the temple for the whole day on Basant Panchami.

On Tuesday, over 3,000 people reached the place to offer prayers amidst tight security. The whole Bhojshala complex has turned into a barrack. Special barricades were installed in view of heavy turnout of the devotees there. Since the Hindu Jagran Manch, (HJM), was demanding removal of wired fencing at the complex, the administration had removed it on Monday night.

Kamaal Maula Masjid is a Waqf Property

Meanwhile, according to former Madhya Pradesh Minister & ex-chairman of Minorities Commission Ibrahim Qureshi has asserted that the disputed Bhojshala structure is the Jama Masjid of Dhar, a small town near Indore. The structure, known as Kamaal Maula Masjid, is a Waqf property and neither the state nor the federal government has any right to change the use or structure of Waqf property.

Qureshi had submitted a report to this effect to the then state Chief Minister Digvijay Singh which said that disputed monument actually is Jama Masjid Dhar, which was later known as Bhojshala. The report said that under the Central Waqf Act, 1954, and the notification issued by the MP government on Jan. 18, 1985, Jama Masjid Dhar was declared a Waqf property. And under Section 6 of the new Central Waqf Act, 1995, all disputes related to waqf property should be referred to the competent court within a year for early disposal. He said only the Waqf Tribunal could solve the ownership and other related matters under the new Central Waqf Act 1995. As far as Jama Masjid was concerned, no case was pending in any court, he pointed out. The Jama Masjid Dhar was a religious place of Muslims and it was protected under Sections 4 & 6 of The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, he added.

He further said that as far as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was concerned, it has only the responsibility of the maintenance and protection of historical monuments. He pointed out that neither the federal government nor the state government has a right to change the usage or its character. And if the federal government wanted to change the character of the building, then it had to make the necessary amendments in the Central Waqf Act, 1995 and the Places of Worship Act, 1991.

Meanwhile, in order to pre-empt any disturbance near Bhojshala on Basant Panchami, the Indore police arrested chief instigator of the protest, Nawal Kishore Sharma, from Vijay Nagar area with a pistol and live cartridges.

The arrest triggered a bandh in Dhar called by saffron organisations. They alleged unlawful detainment of Sharma. Additional superintendent of police (Dhar) Bittu Sehgal told DNA that Naval Kishore and his cousin Harsh Sharma were arrested from different places in connection with a case related to disturbing communal harmony registered at Dhar Kotwali police station. Eight others have been arrested in Dhar in connection with the same case, he said.

Naval Kishore was later admitted to the MY Hospital after he complained of chest pain. A former RSS pracharak, Sharma formed Maa Saraswati Mandir Bhojshala Mukti Yagya Samiti and had been campaigning for sole right for Hindus to offer prayers at the Bhojshala.

Protesting Sharma's arrest saffron activists hit the streets accusing the administration of fabricating evidence against him in Dhar. Shopkeepers downed their shutters and educational institutes remained closed. Meanwhile, security was beefed up in Dhar. Additional 6000 personnel were summoned to keep the situation under control on Basant Panchami.

According to website 'Bhojshala' is an ancient and the only temple of Mata Saraswati, built by Raja Bhoj in 1034 AD. Bhojshala was home to thousands of students and scholars and it was main centre of education.

The website says that Bhojshala has become victim of Governments of Madhya Pradesh due to appeasement of Muslims for votes. Today ASI allows everyone to go inside Bhojshala 'as a tourist' with fees. On every Tuesday, Hindus are allowed to enter in Bhojshala and offer flowers and akshata to Saraswati Mata. But since the new idol of Vagdevi is seized by Madhya Pradesh government and kept in Gwalior jail, Hindus can't offer anything to Saraswati Mata. On every Friday, Muslims are allowed to offer Namaz in Bhojshala complex. Vasant (Basant) Panchami, also known as Mata Saraswati Jayanti is the only day in the year on which Hindus are allowed to perform full-fledged puja by taking idol or photo of Mata Saraswati inside Bhojshala. So, Muslims can offer Namaz in Bhojshala 52 times in a year, but Hindus can perform puja only once in a year. It should be noted that Dhar, where Bhojshala is located, has 16 mosques to offer Namaz, the website pointed out.

In year 2006, Vasant (Basant) Panchami was on Friday, so the demand of the Hindus to perform puja in Bhojshala for the full day was refused and the police also used force against Hindu devotees and arrested many. Now this year 2013, again Vasant (Basant) Panchami happens to be on Friday and Hindu Devotees are demanding to perform puja for the whole day and restrict Muslims to offer Namaz in Bhojshala on this day. Also the BJP Govt. should release Vagdevi (Mata Saraswati) idol from Gwalior Jail, which was installed by Hindus in Bhojshala.

Agitations in New Delhi by Hindutva groups in front of BJP headquarters.

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