Madhya Pradesh home minister Babulal Gaur on Monday said adequate police bandobast had been made to ensure that Friday namaz and Basant Panchami puja passed off peacefully at the disputed Bhojshala shrine in Dhar district on February 12.
“We will act as per the law and ensure pujas and namaz offered at same place,” Gaur said, while addressing a press conference in Indore after a review meeting of Dail-100 services on Monday.
Bhojshala shrine is a communally sensitive religious structure. The Hindus believe that it was originally a temple of Goddess Saraswati which was built by Parawara King Bhoja in the 11th Century AD. However, later a mosque was built using its structures. The Muslims offer namaz here and the Hindus perform puja. The minister, however, refused to detail the number of police personnel to be deployed at the shrine and only said that an adequate arrangement would be made to avert any untoward incident.
Gaur admitted that the members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was had come from outside states in Ujjain. But, the Madhya Pradesh police were alert and equipped to handle any untoward incident in the state, he said.
ASI allows both namaz, Saraswati puja on Bhojshala premises
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said in Dhar on Monday that it would allow namaz and puja at different hours on Bhojshala premises on Basant Panchami that is falling on February 12 this year, a Friday.
An order issued by ASI director general Rakesh Tiwari said, “Muslims can offer namaz from 1 pm to 3 pm. Hindus will observe customary religious practice from sunrise to 12 noon and then from 3.30 pm to sunset.” The order also stated that “Hindus will take flowers and rice for purpose of offerings.”
The order will remain effective on February 12 till midnight. Also, the entry inside the ASI monument will be free on February 12. The ASI order comes a day after state public health minister in-charge of Dhar district Narottam Mishra said the state government had no locus standi on puja and namaz to be performed inside Bhojshala monument on Basant Panchami.
Meanwhile, RSS Dharm Jagaran Vibhag Gopal Sharma has said Hindus would perform Basant Panchami puja from sunrise to sunset. He said they would perform puja outside the monument if the administration restricted their entry.