Qutub Minar Row: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Tuesday opposed in a Delhi court a plea seeking restoration of idols of Hindu and Jain deities inside the Qutub Minar complex, saying it was not a place of worship and the existing status of the monument The position cannot be changed.
The remarks were made on behalf of the ASI while Additional District Judge Nikhil Chopra observed that the main issue arising out of the petition is “right to worship”, and questioned how any person can claim a legal right for restoration of such a thing. Which happened 800 years ago. Additional District Judge Nikhil Chopra reserved the decision on the petition for June 9.
ASI opposes worship at Qutub Minar
The ASI also said that it would be contrary to law to agree with the contention of anyone claiming the fundamental right to worship in this “centrally protected” monument. However, the ASI also said that architectural materials and engraved images of Hindu and Jain deities were reused in the construction of the Qutb complex.
The ASI said, “The fundamental right cannot be availed of in any way in violation of the condition of the land. The basic principle of conservation is not to allow any new practice to be introduced in a monument which is protected and notified under the law.” The monument has been declared.” The ASI said that the resumption of worship is not allowed at any place where this worship was not in practice while the monument was taken under protection.
The ASI said, “Qutub Minar is not a place of worship and since its patronage by the Central Government, no part of Qutub Minar or Qutub Minar was under worship by any community.”
Amanatullah Khan wrote a letter to ASI
Meanwhile, Delhi Waqf Board chairman Amanatullah Khan, in a letter to the Director General of ASI, requested permission to offer prayers at the “ancient” Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in the Qutub Minar complex, claiming that it was approved by ASI officials. was stopped. There was no immediate reaction from the ASI on the letter written last week.
During the hearing before Additional District Judge Nikhil Chopra, ASI’s counsel Subhash Gupta said that it is very clear from the Persian inscription in the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque that it was built from the carved pillars and other architecture of 27 temples.
The purpose of the law is to protect the monument
The advocate said, “It is clear from the inscription that the mosque was built from the ruins of these temples. But nowhere does it mention that the materials were obtained by demolishing the temples. Also, it is not clear that they were destroyed.” Was acquired from the same site or brought from outside. The ruins of temples have been used for construction, not demolishment.” Gupta said that under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, there is no such provision under which worship can be started in a monument.
He said, “The purpose of the law is clear that the monument should be preserved in its original condition for posterity. Therefore, any change in the existing structure would be a clear violation of the AMASR Act and thus should not be allowed.” He said that as per the arguments of the petitioner, the monument is in this condition for 800 years. He said, “It has happened recently that such things are coming to the fore.”
Such monuments are not being used in South India
During the hearing, the court said that there are many such monuments in South India, which are not being used and worship is not being done. The judge asked, “Now you want the monument to be converted into a temple. My question is, how can you claim a legal right to restore something that happened 800 years ago.”
To this the petitioner said, “The property of the deity, always remains the property of the deity. It is never lost and it is their “fundamental right” to worship. After their argument, the judge said that the main issue is the “right to worship”. Said, “What is in support of this right? Whether the idol is present there or not is not the case.”
During the hearing, the ASI also said that when the complex was constructed, materials were used in a haphazard manner, resulting in inverted figures at some places.
Image of Lord Ganesha found in the wall of Qutub Minar
An image of Lord Ganesha is on the lower part of the wall and is said to have been protected by a grill. Another image of Lord Ganesha has been found in the opposite position in the premises. However, it is embedded in the wall, therefore, it is said that it is not possible to remove or fix it.
The court was hearing a petition filed against the order of a magisterial court, which had dismissed a suit filed by advocate Harishankar Jain on behalf of the Jain deity Tirthankara Lord Rishabh Dev. It was claimed in the said suit that 27 temples were partially demolished by Muhammad Ghori’s general Qutbuddin Aibak and the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was erected inside the complex by reusing the material.
Jain said there are two idols of Lord Ganesha in the premises since ancient times and he feared that the ASI would remove them from there and send them only as artefacts to a national museum.