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Archaeological Body Gets 8-Week Extension For Survey Of Bhojshala Complex

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The bench fixed the next date of hearing on July 4 (File)

Indore:

The Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday granted eight more weeks to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to complete its scientific survey of the disputed medieval-era Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque complex.

However, a division bench of Justices SA Dharmadhikari and Gajendra Singh made it clear the ASI won’t be given any more time at the end of this 8-week period.

The bench fixed the next date of hearing on July 4 and directed ASI to submit its final report.

It also turned down a plea of a group of Muslims seeking a stay on the survey work.

Maulana Kamaluddin Welfare Society on behalf of Muslims objected to ASI’s request for more time. It had also claimed the ASI was carrying out excavations contrary to the order of the Supreme Court in the matter.

On April 1, the Supreme Court had made clear that “no physical excavation should be taken which will change the character of the premises in question,” while refusing to stay the “scientific survey” of Bhojshala.

On Monday, the High Court rejected the objection of Maulana Kamaluddin Welfare Society and said the respondent was free to approach the appropriate forum if any such violation was taking place.

Hindus consider Bhojshala, an ASI-protected 11th-century monument, to be a temple dedicated to Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati), while the Muslim community calls it Kamal Maula Mosque.

As per an arrangement made by the ASI on April 7, 2003, Hindus perform puja in the Bhojshala premises on Tuesdays, while Muslims offer namaz in the complex on Fridays.

On March 11, the HC ordered the ASI to conduct a “scientific survey” of the Bhojshala-Kamal Moula mosque complex within six weeks. The survey was ordered on a plea from an outfit called Hindu Front for Justice (HFJ). The survey started on March 22.

On April 22, the ASI filed an application stating it needed some more time for the survey to understand the nature of exposed portions of the structures in the disputed premises.

The ASI, in its application, stated a detailed survey of the complex and its peripheral area is in progress using scientific tools, and its team is conducting detailed documentation of the entire monument.

Excavation, which is a very systematic and slow process, is also in progress, and more time will be needed to understand the nature of exposed portions of the structures, it said.

“On close examination of the monument, it is observed that later filling in the entrance porch is hiding the original features of the structure, and its removal is to be done very carefully, without causing any damage to the original structure, which is a slow and time-taking process,” the ASI application stated.

The application also said the ASI has requested National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) to conduct a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey.

A NGRI team was surveying the entire area regularly, strictly complying with the directions passed by the High Court, the ASI plea said.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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