11 Mar 2024

Madhya Pradesh: Now Survey of Bhojshala in Dhar will also be conducted; Indore HC grants permission to ASI

Indore (Madhya Pradesh): On Monday, the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court granted permission to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey of the disputed Bhojshala in Dhar district, aiming to establish its true identity.

Hindus consider Bhojshala a temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, while Muslims regard it as a mosque.

Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain shared the court order on X (formerly Twitter).

Earlier this year, a Hindu organization approached the Madhya Pradesh High Court, seeking a directive for the ASI to carry out a time-bound "scientific investigation" of the contested Bhojshala, claiming it to be a temple of Goddess Vagdevi.

Formation of a Five-member Expert Committee

A bench comprising Justices Sushrut Arvind Dharmadhikari and Devnarayan Mishra mandated the preparation of a well-documented survey report by an Expert Committee of five or more senior ASI officers, led by the Director General or Additional Director General of the ASI, to be submitted to the court within six weeks.

Court Orders GPR-GPS Survey

The High Court, in its directive, ordered a comprehensive scientific investigation, survey, and excavation using the latest methods, techniques, and GPR-GPS survey of the disputed Bhojshala Temple cum Kamal Maula Mosque complex.

Furthermore, the court instructed a detailed scientific investigation, including the adoption of the carbon dating method, to determine the age and life of various structures both above and beneath the site.

Right to Worship Contingent on Report

The court emphasized in its order that the right to worship and perform rituals in the disputed premises would be considered and determined only after the receipt of the aforementioned report from the Expert Committee. Issues such as the validity of the wakf created on the disputed complex, relief in the writ proceedings, or pursuing the matter through a Civil Suit will be addressed post-receiving the report from the Five-Member Committee of the ASI, as mentioned earlier.

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