On Sunday night, 22 members of the Hindu Army, a right-wing group were arrested for giving a call for ‘Krishna Janmabhoomi’ movement in Mathura. The men had put posters across town that declared that the movement would start at 11 A.M on Monday, reported The Telegraph.
Mathura Superintendent of Police, Uday Shankar told the publication, “A large number of Hindu Army members began assembling near the temple on Sunday evening without permission from the local administration. They were trying to conduct objectionable activities. We arrested 22 of them under Section 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prevent the commission of cognisable offences.”
SabrangIndia was the first to report on the resurrection of movements identical to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in wake of the Ayodhya judgment. In Mathura, a Shahi Idgah that stands adjacent to the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple is now in the eye of the storm. It was allegedly built by Aurangzeb after razing a Krishna temple that stood at the site. The Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust has staked claim to a four-and-a-half acre pot of 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. 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 the late 80s and the early 90s, both in the run up to and in the immediate aftermath of the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, entire neighbourhoods would reverberate with chants of “Ayodhya Babri toh jhaanki hai, Kashi-Mathura baaki hai!”
The communal flames were reignited after Sudhir Singh, a local politician from Varanasi, gave the call to ‘liberate’ Kashi Vishwanath temple and launched the Kashi Vishwanath Mukti Andolan shortly after the SC judgment in the Ayodhya dispute case. Singh made the announcement at Assi Ghat on Mahashivratri earlier this year and was also arrested and sent to jail briefly for the same.
SabrangIndia’s predecessor Communalism Combat, a publication spearheaded by journalists and human right defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, had in its May 2003 issue documented what was dubbed Hindutva’s Hitlist. The publication had documented no less than seven widely publicised statements made by the VHP and BJP, in tandem since December 2002, that are indirect threats to demolish mosques and churches in different parts of the country, in the guise of ‘liberating 30,000 Hindu temples’.