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Krishna Janmabhoomi: Mathura court to decide if suit against Shahi Idgah is maintainable

The petitioners have demanded that the mosque authorities return land to the temple trust

Sabrangindia 19 May 2022

Mathura

The court of District and Sessions Judge Rajeev Bharati is expected to pronounce its order in a matter pertaining to the Shahi Idgah located next to the Katra Keshav Dev temple in Mathura today. The court had reserved its order on May 7.

In their civil suit filed in September 2020, the petitioners i.e the deity Baghwan Sri Krishna Virajman through next friend Ranjana Agnihotri, Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi (birthplace of the deity) and devotees, have claimed, “This suit is being filed for removal of encroachment and superstructure illegally raised by Committee of Management of alleged Trust Masjid Idgah with the consent of Sunni Central Board of Waqf on land Khewat No.255 (Two Hundred Fifty Five) at Katra Keshav Dev city Mathura belonging to deity Shree Krishna Virajman.”  

Explaining the rationale behind the suit, the plaintiffs have stated, “The present suit is being filed by and on behalf of deity Plaintiff Nos.1 (One) and 2 (Two) alongwith devotees to ensure that Dharshan, Pooja, rituals according to Vedic Sanatan Dharma, faith, belief, usages, traditions and customs guaranteed under Article 25 (Twenty Five) of the Constitution of India are performed at the actual birth place and at any part of 13.37 (Thirteen Point Thirty Seven) Acers land of Katra Keshav Dev the Sunni Waqf Board, Trust Masjid Idgah and their men, workers, attorneys and every person working under them are restrained from entering into the premises of the property in question and they be directed to remove the construction illegally raised by them without authority of law at the property in question.”

Brief background of the case

The primary contention was that the Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh that looked after the Katra Keshav Dev temple property had allegedly entered into an illegal compromise with the Committee of Management of Trust Masjid Idgah in 1968 by way of which a huge chunk of land was given to the Idgah including the spot where the deity was born. The plaintiffs had submitted, “The original karagar i.e birthplace of Lord Krishna lies beneath the construction raised by Committee of Management i.e Trust Masjid Idgah.” It insisted that the truth would be revealed if an excavation were to be conducted.

The language of the petition itself was deeply communal, as at one point it said, “Under Hindu Law prevalent in India from thousands of years it is well recognized that the property once vested in the deity shall continue to be the deity’s property and property vested in the deity is never destroyed or lost and it can be regained and re-established whenever it is freed, found or recovered from the clutches of invaders, ultras or hoodlums. The Privy Council, High Courts and the Hon’ble Supreme Court in catena of decisions have endorsed the above proposition of law.”

It further says that “it is matter of fact and history that Aurangzeb ruled over the country from 31.07.1658 (Thirty One Seven Sixteen Fifty Eight) to 3.03.1707 (Three Three Seventeen Zero Seven) AD and he being staunch follower of Islam had issued orders for demolition of large number of Hindu religious places and temples including the temple standing at the birth place of Lord Shree Krishna at Katra Keshav Dev, Mathura in the year 1669-70 (Sixteen Sixty Nine- Seventy) AD. The army of Aurangzeb partly succeeded to demolish Keshav Dev Temple and a construction was forcibly raised showing the might of power and said construction was named as Idgah Mosque.” It then goes on to quote an official order by Aurangzeb himself.

On September 30, 2020, a civil court in Mathura dismissed the petition to remove the Shahi Idgah adjacent to a Krishna temple in the city. Civil Judge (Senior Division) Chhaya Sharma refused to entertain the plea citing section 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. Section 4 (1) of this Act says, “It is hereby declared that the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day.”

However, the plaintiffs moved the district court against this on October 12 citing Article 25 of the Constitution that deals with “Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion” and says, “Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.”

The Appellants submitted, “It is the right and duty of worshipers to make every endeavour to bring back the lost property of the deity and to take every step for the safety and proper management of the temple and the deity’s property.”

The Petitioners have sought ownership of the entire property spread across 13.37 acres, and cancellation of the agreement that led to the transfer of land in 1968.

Meanwhile, the Sunni Waqf Board and the Shahi Idgah committee argued that the petitioner was neither an office bearer of the Temple trust, nor a descendent of the Krishna Janmasthan. Arguments from both sides have concluded.

After the Supreme Court judgement in the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi case, the Krishna Janmabhoomi movement has been gathering steam as well. As we have reported previously, an organisation called Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Nirman Nyas was registered on July 23, 2020. It reportedly has 80 ‘saints’ from 14 states as its members. In August 2020, the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust had already started laying claim to the four-and-a-half-acre land next to the mosque to use as a Ranga Manch (variety hall) for religious and cultural functions organised by the trust and temple authorities. 

Then in September, 2020, 22 members of the Hindu Army, a right-wing group, were arrested for giving a call for ‘Krishna Janmabhoomi’ movement in Mathura.

 

Related:

Krishna Janmabhoomi: Court reserves orders on whether petition against Shahi Idgah is maintainable

Krishna Janmabhoomi case: Mathura district court admits plea against Shahi Idgah

Krishna Janmabhoomi case: Appeal against Mathura Court order

Krishna Janmabhoomi: Mathura court dismisses plea against Shahi Idgah

And so it begins: Civil suit filed to remove Idgah next to Krishna temple in Mathura

Krishna Janmabhoomi: Mathura court to decide if suit against Shahi Idgah is maintainable

The petitioners have demanded that the mosque authorities return land to the temple trust

Mathura

The court of District and Sessions Judge Rajeev Bharati is expected to pronounce its order in a matter pertaining to the Shahi Idgah located next to the Katra Keshav Dev temple in Mathura today. The court had reserved its order on May 7.

In their civil suit filed in September 2020, the petitioners i.e the deity Baghwan Sri Krishna Virajman through next friend Ranjana Agnihotri, Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi (birthplace of the deity) and devotees, have claimed, “This suit is being filed for removal of encroachment and superstructure illegally raised by Committee of Management of alleged Trust Masjid Idgah with the consent of Sunni Central Board of Waqf on land Khewat No.255 (Two Hundred Fifty Five) at Katra Keshav Dev city Mathura belonging to deity Shree Krishna Virajman.”  

Explaining the rationale behind the suit, the plaintiffs have stated, “The present suit is being filed by and on behalf of deity Plaintiff Nos.1 (One) and 2 (Two) alongwith devotees to ensure that Dharshan, Pooja, rituals according to Vedic Sanatan Dharma, faith, belief, usages, traditions and customs guaranteed under Article 25 (Twenty Five) of the Constitution of India are performed at the actual birth place and at any part of 13.37 (Thirteen Point Thirty Seven) Acers land of Katra Keshav Dev the Sunni Waqf Board, Trust Masjid Idgah and their men, workers, attorneys and every person working under them are restrained from entering into the premises of the property in question and they be directed to remove the construction illegally raised by them without authority of law at the property in question.”

Brief background of the case

The primary contention was that the Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh that looked after the Katra Keshav Dev temple property had allegedly entered into an illegal compromise with the Committee of Management of Trust Masjid Idgah in 1968 by way of which a huge chunk of land was given to the Idgah including the spot where the deity was born. The plaintiffs had submitted, “The original karagar i.e birthplace of Lord Krishna lies beneath the construction raised by Committee of Management i.e Trust Masjid Idgah.” It insisted that the truth would be revealed if an excavation were to be conducted.

The language of the petition itself was deeply communal, as at one point it said, “Under Hindu Law prevalent in India from thousands of years it is well recognized that the property once vested in the deity shall continue to be the deity’s property and property vested in the deity is never destroyed or lost and it can be regained and re-established whenever it is freed, found or recovered from the clutches of invaders, ultras or hoodlums. The Privy Council, High Courts and the Hon’ble Supreme Court in catena of decisions have endorsed the above proposition of law.”

It further says that “it is matter of fact and history that Aurangzeb ruled over the country from 31.07.1658 (Thirty One Seven Sixteen Fifty Eight) to 3.03.1707 (Three Three Seventeen Zero Seven) AD and he being staunch follower of Islam had issued orders for demolition of large number of Hindu religious places and temples including the temple standing at the birth place of Lord Shree Krishna at Katra Keshav Dev, Mathura in the year 1669-70 (Sixteen Sixty Nine- Seventy) AD. The army of Aurangzeb partly succeeded to demolish Keshav Dev Temple and a construction was forcibly raised showing the might of power and said construction was named as Idgah Mosque.” It then goes on to quote an official order by Aurangzeb himself.

On September 30, 2020, a civil court in Mathura dismissed the petition to remove the Shahi Idgah adjacent to a Krishna temple in the city. Civil Judge (Senior Division) Chhaya Sharma refused to entertain the plea citing section 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. Section 4 (1) of this Act says, “It is hereby declared that the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day.”

However, the plaintiffs moved the district court against this on October 12 citing Article 25 of the Constitution that deals with “Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion” and says, “Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.”

The Appellants submitted, “It is the right and duty of worshipers to make every endeavour to bring back the lost property of the deity and to take every step for the safety and proper management of the temple and the deity’s property.”

The Petitioners have sought ownership of the entire property spread across 13.37 acres, and cancellation of the agreement that led to the transfer of land in 1968.

Meanwhile, the Sunni Waqf Board and the Shahi Idgah committee argued that the petitioner was neither an office bearer of the Temple trust, nor a descendent of the Krishna Janmasthan. Arguments from both sides have concluded.

After the Supreme Court judgement in the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi case, the Krishna Janmabhoomi movement has been gathering steam as well. As we have reported previously, an organisation called Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Nirman Nyas was registered on July 23, 2020. It reportedly has 80 ‘saints’ from 14 states as its members. In August 2020, the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust had already started laying claim to the four-and-a-half-acre land next to the mosque to use as a Ranga Manch (variety hall) for religious and cultural functions organised by the trust and temple authorities. 

Then in September, 2020, 22 members of the Hindu Army, a right-wing group, were arrested for giving a call for ‘Krishna Janmabhoomi’ movement in Mathura.

 

Related:

Krishna Janmabhoomi: Court reserves orders on whether petition against Shahi Idgah is maintainable

Krishna Janmabhoomi case: Mathura district court admits plea against Shahi Idgah

Krishna Janmabhoomi case: Appeal against Mathura Court order

Krishna Janmabhoomi: Mathura court dismisses plea against Shahi Idgah

And so it begins: Civil suit filed to remove Idgah next to Krishna temple in Mathura

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