Aurangzeb demolished temple at Krishna Janmabhoomi site, established mosque: ASI

Agra: In response to an RTI query, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has disclosed information based on historical records of a 1920 gazette about Mathura’s Krishna Janmabhoomi temple complex. Attaching an excerpt from the Nov 1920 gazette, the ASI stated in its response: “Portions of Katra mound which are not in the possession of nazul tenants on which formerly stood a temple of Keshavdev which was dismantled and the site utilised for the mosque of Aurangzeb…”

The RTI was filed by Ajay Pratap Singh, a resident of Mainpuri in UP, and the reply came from the office of superintending archaeologist of ASI, Agra circle.

Singh had sought specific information about the “dismantling” of Keshavdev temple — claimed to be part of the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple complex. The RTI reply, while not specifically mentioning the words “Krishna Janmabhoomi,” confirmed the demolition of the former temple of Keshavdev at the disputed site by the Mughal emperor.

The confirmation is being seen as a shot in the arm by those fighting a legal battle for the removal of the Shahi Idgah mosque from the site.

Advocate Mahendra Pratap Singh, president of Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Mukti Nyas and one of the petitioners against the mosque, said that “he will place the key piece of evidence before Allahabad high court and the Supreme Court”.

“On basis of historical evidence, we had in our petition mentioned that Aurangzeb issued a decree in 1670 CE to demolish the temple of Keshavdev in Mathura. Following that, Shahi Idgah Mosque was built there. Now ASI in reply to the RTI query has attested the information. We’ll put forward the ASI reply in the HC during the next hearing on Feb 22,” Singh said. He added: “This strengthens our demand for survey of Shahi Idgah mosque and excludes the structure out of purview of the Place of Worship Act, 1991.”
Last week, SC had extended an interim stay on the Allahabad HC order for a court-monitored survey of the Shahi Idgah mosque complex in Mathura. The stay order would remain applicable till the first half of April.
Source: TOI

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