MP:Prayers go off peacefully at Bhojshala on 'Basant Panchami'

Dhar (MP): Muslims too offered "namaz" at Bhojshala here post noon after prayers began peacefully this morning at the disputed premises."A group of 25-30 Muslim devotees offered Namaz on the terrace of the site peacefully
mp prayers go off peacefully at bhojshala on...
PTI February 12, 2016 16:42 IST

Dhar (MP): Muslims too offered "namaz" at Bhojshala here post noon after prayers began peacefully this morning at the disputed premises.

"A group of 25-30 Muslim devotees offered Namaz on the terrace of the site peacefully after 12 PM," Indore Division Commissioner, Sanjay Dube told PTI.

Earlier, a right right wing organisation performed a 'puja' outside the monument after they allegedly found some security men wearing shoes at the site.

However, later they performed the 'puja' inside also, the Commissioner said adding no untoward incident was reported.

Large number of devotees have so far performed puja on the occasion of 'Basant Panchami' festival and the monument being virtually turned into a fortress with huge police deployment to avoid any untoward incident, Dhar District Collector, Shriman Shukla said.

However, Bhoj Utsav Samiti (BUS) leader Ashok Jain claimed the authorities are making government officials offer 'puja' inside the Bhojshala to show that all was normal.

The real devotees (faithful) in a huge number were offering 'puja' outside, he said.

There was tension in the town for past few days ahead of the 'Basant Panchami' when BUS, an umbrella body of some right wing organisations, leader Vijay Singh Rathore demanded that Hindus be allowed "dawn-to-dusk" access to perform puja at Bhojshala, despite an order issued by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) last month.

The ASI order stated that on Basant Panchami, Hindus will perform puja at Bhojshala from sunrise to 12 noon and from 3.30 PM to sunset, while Muslims will offer 'namaz' between 1 PM and 3 PM.

Hindus consider Bhojshala as temple of Goddess Wagdevi (Saraswati), whereas Muslims treat it as Kamal Moula mosque. In the normal course, Hindus are allowed to perform puja on Tuesdays, while Muslims offer 'namaz' on Fridays. The structure is open to all on rest of the days.

But the row erupts whenever Basant Panchami and Friday namaz overlaps, as both sides refused to give up their access to the 11th century monument, which many dub as "mini-Ayodhya".

A similar crisis had erupted at the Bhojshala in 2003, 2006 and 2013, when Basant Panchami and Friday 'namaz' had coincided.

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