Members of heavy Hindu groups have applied to a court in northern India to prevent Muslims from entering a historic mosque, until the court decides on an earlier appeal to seek permission to search for any Hindu items in the area, lawyers said Wednesday.
Judges at a home court in Mathur, a Hindu religious town in Uttar Pradesh (UP) state, have approved new applications but have not yet begun a 2020 trial aimed at obtaining permission to film and test inside the 17th mosque of Shahi Eidgah.
“We suspect that Hindu symbols may be removed from the Shahi Eidgah mosque, so we want the court to suspend the entry of Muslims,” said Mahendra Pratap, a lawyer involved in the case.
This month, another state court allowed the party to screen and show a film inside one of the largest mosques in Varanasi, the ancient city, and the politics of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Read: From Babri to Gyanvapi, how Indian courts have helped to raise claims in Hindutva in mosques
On Tuesday, the country’s highest court overturned a ruling by the Varanasi court to reduce major Muslim prayers in the Gyanvapsi mosque, but allowed a domestic court to continue the debate.
Members of a vigilant Hindu group tied to the Modi faction claim that Islamist invaders destroyed Hindu temples during their 200-year reign.
“We believe the idols of the Hindu gods were lying inside a mosque built after the temple was destroyed by Muslim rulers to show their supremacy,” said Ranjana Agnihotri, a lawyer representing Hindu groups who question the legitimacy of the Shahi Eidgah mosque in Matrara.
Researchers involved in the Varanasi case say they found a large Hindu god Shiva inside the Gyanvapsi mosque, but Islamic groups say the source of the water was misinterpreted to provoke religious discord.
Reports of idols found inside the mosque have further strengthened Hindu groups in both western and southern lands to seek rehabilitation of other mosques.
Police in the city of Aurangabad say they have tightened security around the tomb of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after members of the MNS, a local political party, threatened to destroy the grave, believing it was anti-Hindu.
The same group succeeded in pressuring the Maharashtra government to ensure that decibel levels in Muslim prayers were lowered after their leaders threatened to sing Hindu prayers outside mosques.
Leaders of Islamic political and religious groups have said they will fight legal battles against Hindu groups that violate the sanctity of places of worship and cemeteries.
“We (Muslims) will not allow Hindus to insult our religion and our mosques,” said Asaduddin Owaisi, a union representative and leader of the Islamic political party.