A day after the foundation stone was laid for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, a buzz is going around Muslims that Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will now intensify their demand for demolishing mosques in Mathura and Varanasi to build temples there after the construction of Ram temple starts.
The murmurs started after BJP leader Vinay Katiyar said that mobilisation for temple building at Kashi and Mathura would gain momentum once the construction of Ram temple started in Ayodhya.
“Temple building at Kashi and Mathura is very much on our agenda. We will sit and discuss the ways to achieve our goal. It is not an easy task and it is going to take time,” Katiyar said in an interview.
Mathura is considered the birthplace of Lord Krishna and a mosque called Shahi eidgah stands adjacent to the Krishnabhoomi temple where Hindus believe Lord Krishna was born. Both temple and mosque share one wall. Hindus believe that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had demolished a part of the temple to build the mosque there.
Ditto is the case in Varanasi where Gyanvapi Mosque and Kashi Vishwanath temple, a temple of Lord Shiva, share a wall.
“A temple is coming up in Ayodhya after the Supreme Court order and we welcome that. The Narendra Modi government should assure Muslims that now Hindu outfits will not ask for construction of temples in Varanasi and Mathura after demolishing the existing mosques there,” main litigant in Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, Iqbal Ansari, said from Ayodhya.
The fear among Muslims is justified because during Babri mosque demolition, a slogan ‘Yeh to kewal jhanki hai, Kashi, Mathura baaki hai’, (This is just a trailer, Varanasi and Mathura are still left)” reverberated the plains of north India.
Riaz Ahmad, an advocate in Lucknow said that fear was always lurking down the corner that now the VHP would go for either Mathura or Varanasi.
“A beginning has been made in Varanasi where the buildings surrounding Kashi Vishwanath and Gyanvapi Mosque have been demolished in the name of beautification, thus making the mosque vulnerable,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who represents Varanasi in Lok Sabha, has launched a Rs 600-crore Kashi Vishwanath corridor project that will build a pathway from the temple premises to the banks of the river Ganga.
Sayid Yasin, general secretary of Gyanvapi mosque, said that a part of the Gyanvapi mosque’s surrounding structure was destroyed last year during the project work. “We were alert and opposed the demolition. The government has since rebuilt it. The incident has made Muslim very cautious about government move,” he said.
Riaz said during Ayodhya hearing in Supreme Court, a section of Muslim side had made a settlement offer saying they were ready to forego claim on Ayodhya if the government promised to protect mosques in Mathura and Varanasi but Hindus refused to negotiate.
The Supreme Court in its order of November 2019 has allotted five acre land for construction of mosque. The land is around 30 km from the place where the original Babri masjid stood.
Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board Chairman Zafar Ahmed Farooqi declared formation of a trust named Indo Islamic Cultural Foundation for building the mosque and developing other facilities for the benefit of the general public in Ayodhya.
“The donation is bound to pour in. Mosques are always built with public support. We will open a bank account and ask people to donate for the construction of the mosque,” Farooqi said.
Rakesh Yadav, pradhan of Dhannipur, where the mosque will come up, hoped that the mosque would transform the village into a tourist spot.