Mathura court seeks reply on mosque


A Mathura court has issued notices to the Shahi Idgah Masjid management committee and others, seeking their stand on a fresh plea for the removal of a 17th-century mosque from near the birthplace of Lord Krishna in the Katra Keshav Dev temple complex here.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Dev Kant Shukla on Saturday issued the notices after admitting the plea, ruling that the suit is “maintainable and hence admissible” for detailed hearing, district government counsel (civil) Sanjai Gaur said.

The court also issued notices to the president of the Sunni Waqf Board, Lucknow and the managing trustees of Sri Krishna Janmabhumi Trust Katra Keshav Dev temple and Sri Krishna Seva Sansthan, Katra Keshav Dev temple.

It sought the stand of the four respondents by March 8, the next date of hearing, Mr. Gaur said.

The fresh plea has been filed by priest Pawan Kumar Shastri of the old Keshav Dev temple on behalf of the temple’s deity, Thakur Keshav Dev Ji Maharaj Virajman.

 

‘Sevayat’ Shastri has made three demands in his plea, firstly claiming the right to manage the entire 13.37 acres of the Katra Keshav Dev temple complex, including the land on which the Shahi Idgah mosque stands.

He sought the right to manage the entire temple complex claiming that his ancestors have been serving as priests of the deity for decades and he has inherited the right from them as the ‘sevayat’ (priest).

Mr. Shastri has also demanded the annulment of a 1967 ruling of Mathura court which has ratified a land deal between the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan and the Shahi Idgah Management Committee, allowing the existence of the mosque near the temple.

In his third plea, he has demanded a court direction to the Shahi Masjid Idgah’s management committee and Lucknow’s Sunni Waqf Board’s president to remove the mosque from its location.

Three more suits are pending with Mathura courts on the issue.

One suit, filed by advocate Mahendra Pratap Singh on behalf of five plaintiffs, has been admitted for the hearing by the court.

The admissibility of two others, filed respectively by advocate Hari Shankar Jain for Sri Krishna Virajman through the deity’s “next friend” Ranjana Agnihotri and others and advocate Shailendra Singh for Hindu Army chief Manish Yadav, are yet to be decided, Mr. Gaur said.

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