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"Was not necessary...": Petitioner for Muslim side on ASI survey of Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque complex

Dhar (Madhya Pradesh): A day after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) began a survey of the disputed Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque complex in Dhar, Abdul Samad, the petitioner for the Muslim side, said he disagreed with the exercise as directed by the high court.

Speaking to ANI on Saturday, the petitioner for the Muslim side said features at the complex have changed a lot from what they were before.

"This survey was not necessary as a similar exercise had been conducted previously and the report is in the public domain. We are against this new survey, as several new things have started here since the last survey. There have been some changes to the monument as well. We have already voiced our misgivings over these changes," the petitioner told ANI.

"Seeing such changes and new activities in the complex, we moved the high court urging that if they allow such movement (of people from the Hindu community) inside the monument, they should lay down proper guidelines on things that could be carried inside," he added.

Samad said they have already moved the Supreme Court, challenging the high court's direction of a new survey and the submission of the report by the next date of hearing--April 1.

"On February 5, we made a special request to the high court with regard to a new survey. However, the court directed a new survey of the complex on March 11. We moved the Supreme Court on March 16, challenging the high court decision. The Supreme Court admitted our plea and listed the matter for hearing on April 1," he said.

"I consider yesterday's survey to be of zero significance. Why did they (ASI) have to carry out a survey when the petitioner from the other side wasn't around? The court directed a survey in the presence of the petitioners from both sides. If they wanted to conduct the survey (yesterday), they should have informed us at least 24 hours in advance," he added.

Earlier, on Friday, the Hindu side's advocate Shreesh Dubey told media persons, "Four petitions are in court as of now... The survey began today at 6 am. The report will be submitted before the court soon."

Recently, the Madhya Pradesh High Court allowed the survey by the ASI at the disputed Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque complex situated in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh.

"In compliance with the instructions of the High Court, we have received a letter from the Additional Director of the Indian Culture Department. After receiving the letter, today we inspected the Bhojshala premises. We discussed what kind of security arrangements are to be provided during the survey and what is their (ASI) demand," Dhar Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh said.

He further said proper security arrangements would be provided.

"In compliance with the instructions of the High Court, whatever security arrangements are required, so that the survey work is completed peacefully, we will provide that. I want to appeal to the entire public of Dhar district that the High Court has directed that the survey work should be completed by ASI, everyone should cooperate in it and we will provide complete arrangements to ensure that there is no hindrance in the survey work," he further said.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court allowed the survey by the ASI at the disputed Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque complex, advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain said.

Hindus consider Bhojshala, to be a temple dedicated to 'Vagdevi', while Muslims called it the Kamal Maula Mosque.

The court, in its order shared by advocate Vishnu Jain, stated, "It is contended on behalf of the petitioners while pressing the interlocutory application that survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is a statutory duty, which the ASI ought to have performed long back."

"Any other study, investigation, or inquiry, which the said five (5) member committee of the ASI feel it is necessary to be undertaken without "destroying, defacing, or destructing the original nature of the whole complex be undertaken, towards ascertaining the true nature and character of the Bhojshala Temple cum Kamal Maula Mosque for arriving at the truth," it added.

The order said that the right to worship and perform rituals in the disputed premises shall be considered only after receipt of the aforementioned report from the Expert Committee. 

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