The Dhar administration instead of allowing Muslim devotees to offer namaz at Bhojshala, made policemen wear kurta-pajamas to offer prayers, which led to escalation of communal tensions on February 14, 2013, a petition moved before the Madhya Pradesh high court has said.
Arif Masood, an executive member of Muslim Personal Law Board, who had moved a petition, on Thursday produced videographic evidence before the court to substantiate his claims after which the division bench comprising justice PK Jaiswal and justice JK Jain directed to list the matter on February 8, along with other petitions related to Bhojshala issue.
“Prashashan ne namaziyon ko gumrah kar, kuch police karmiyon ko kurta-paijame pehnake Namaz padhaya gaya’ (administration misled devotees, a few policemen were made to change their dresses and offered Namaz), Masood told Hindustan Times.
On the directions of the high court in 2013, the state government had given assurance that the Muslim devotees would be permitted to offer prayers, but the directives were not followed, Masood said in the petition.
Following the incident, tension escalated in Dhar for two days, in which more than hundred people were injured in police cane-charge, he said.
Hindus are allowed to pray at the disputed site every Tuesday and on Basant Panchami while Muslims can pray there every Friday. The “Jumma prayers” are offered between 1pm and 3pm.
“If the same condition arises again this time, there are chances of breach of communal harmony at the monument,” he said.
“Although this year Vasant Panchami is on February 13, some Hindu hardliners in Dhar have decided to celebrate it on February 12– which falls on a Friday,” he said.
The petitioner prayed before court that he was happy if the Vasant Panchami is celebrated on February 12, but the members of Muslim community should also be permitted to offer prayers, and no fallacy by the police administration be permitted as it was done in 2013.
The writ was filed in the light of protecting the interests of the minority community, to ensure that fundamental rights as provided under Article 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India shall not be snatched, as well as protecting the ancient monument of national importance, the petition read.