West Bengal: FIR against priest and other who conducted puja at Adina Mosque

Following the trend where Hindutva inclined organisations have been claiming several mosques as formerly being Hindu temples, another incident where a Hindu priest conducted a puja ceremony at a mosque, which comes under the Archaeological Survey of India, in West Bengal’s Malda.
Image: The Observer Post

On February 18, news emerged of a Hindu priest, named Maharaj Hiranmoy Goswami, who conducted a pooja inside the historic Adina Mosque which is located in the Malda district of West Bengal. The priest was reportedly not native to Malda and was accompanied by a group of people as they entered the mosque premises and conducted puja. The Adina Mosque is a protected historical mosque and falls under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The news quickly spread among the local Muslim community, who instantly alerted the Malda police, following which the police immediately intervened and reportedly put an end to the incursion which also saw an argument.

According to The Telegraph,, an FIR has been filed against the priest including Maharaj Hiranmoy Goswami and a ‘few others.’ The report states that sources have claimed that the complaint was lodged by the ASI following the incident.

Nizamuddin Biswas, who is the state secretary of the All Bengal Imam Muezzin Association and Charitable Trust, has condemned the act, and has called for strict legal action not only against Goswami but also against the other people who were involved in the incident.

Abdur Rahim Boxi, the Malda unit president of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and an MLA, has assured the public that the incident would be addressed in accordance with the law. He has also further appealed for communal harmony and peace in the wake of the controversy. “We have discussed the issue. Police have appealed for religious harmony. The administration has handled the matter assertively. No violence was reported”

An official, anonymously stated to The Telegraph, “Acting on the complaint received from the end of the ASI, police lodged a complaint formally.” However, the police have thus far declined to comment on the issue, though the report states that the police are choosing to be vigilant on the issue.

According to Siasat Daily, additional police presence has been deployed to ensure the maintenance of law and order in the area after the incident. BJP district president from Malda has thus far stated he is out of state and doesn’t know what has happened, and wanted the “police and administration to handle the situation and let harmony prevail.”

According to an essay in Outlook Magazine, the Adina Mosque was one of the largest mosques in the country. It was created in the 12th century by Sikander Shah, the then king. The essay also claims that the demand to convert the mosque into a temple have been on the internet for the past few years by Hindutva supporters. The essay notes that there is little record by historians or archaeologists, who often went to the site, of there being any Hindu temple in the past.



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