ASI seeks 2-month extension to complete survey at Madhya Pradesh's Bhojshala | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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ASI seeks 2-month extension to complete survey at Madhya Pradesh's Bhojshala

By, New Delhi
Apr 24, 2024 08:51 AM IST

The survey, ordered by the Madhya Pradesh high court, began on March 22, and concluded on Tuesday.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), carrying out a court-mandated scientific survey of the Bhojshala complex of Madhya Pradesh's Dhar district, has submitted an application seeking eight more weeks to complete the 
exercise, even as the original deadline ended on Tuesday, day 33 of the survey.

Security personnel stand guard outside Bhojshala/Kamal Maula Mosque complex after a team of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) reached the complex for a survey in Dhar on March 22. (PTI)
Security personnel stand guard outside Bhojshala/Kamal Maula Mosque complex after a team of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) reached the complex for a survey in Dhar on March 22. (PTI)

In its application, filed in the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court, the ASI stated that it needs more time to “understand the nature of the exposed parts of the disputed complex's structures.” The plea is likely to be taken up on April 29, when the government agency is to submit a report on its findings, as was directed by the court on March 11, when it ordered the exercise.

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Accordingly, the ASI survey commenced on March 22.

The dispute

The Hindus believe that the Bhojshala complex is a temple dedicated to Goddess Vagdevi (Saraswati), while for Muslims, it is the site of the Kamal Maula Mosque. Under an ASI order issued on April 7, 2003, Hindus can pray here on Tuesdays, from sunrise to sunset, while Muslims can offer their Friday namaz, from 1 pm to 3 pm.

Even as the current survey was on, both sides continued to use the complex as per the existing arrangement.

Who are the petitioners?

The petitioners in this case are a group called the Hindu Front for Justice, which moved Madhya Pradesh high court in May 2022, demanding a scientific survey to “determine the character and nature of contentious premises.”

On April 1, the Supreme Court refused to stay the high court's order; the Muslim side had approached the apex court contending that the exercise "may cause damage to the place of worship and affect religious sentiments of communities at large".

The top court, however, restrained ASI from excavation at the protected 11th-century monument.

 

 

 

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