The Jahanara mosque in Agra. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

By The Wire Staff

New Delhi: An application has been filed before a Mathura court seeking a ground radiology test by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the Jahanara mosque in Agra (popularly known as the Jama Masjid, Agra) to find out if idols of Hindu god Krishna are buried under it.

The application is likely to be heard on May 10.

The application was filed as part of a civil suit filed earlier this year on behalf of the deity Bhagwan Shrikrishna Virajmaan, saying possession of the land where the Shahi Idgah in Mathura is located should be handed over to the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust, LiveLaw reported. The idgah, the civil suit claims, was built after Emperor Aurangzeb encroached into the Krishna janmabhoomi (Krishna’s birthplace) and destroyed a temple there.

According to the application, Aurangzeb took Krishna idols from the temple in Mathura to Agra, and buried them under the Jahanara mosque. To prove Aurangzeb’s encroachment, the application says, an ASI study of the Jahanara mosque is necessary.

The application refers to a controversial order passed by a Varanasi court last week, allowing the ASI to survey the Gyanvapi mosque that stands next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

The Varanasi court’s order upends the Places of Worship Act of 1991, which declared that “the religious character of a place of worship existing on August 15, 1947, shall continue to be the same as it existed on that date” and that “no suit, appeal or other proceeding with respect to … such matter shall lie on or after such commencement in any court, tribunal or other authority.”

The law was passed in the wake of the agitation underway at the time by Hindutva groups for various mosques – including the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi and the Idgah in Mathura – to be converted into temples. The 1991 Act excluded the Babri Masjid from its purview since a civil suit was already pending but barred any fresh attempts to convert an existing place of worship from one religion to another. However, it covers the Gyanvapi mosque and the Mathura Idgah.

A Mathura court had earlier dismissed a similar civil suit seeking removal of the Idgah because it was filed on behalf of a devotee rather than the deity.

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