ASI making changes at Bhojshala in Dhar, alleges Kashi Shankaracharya

Indore: The Shankaracharya of Kashi Sumeru Peeth Narendranand Saraswati on Friday alleged that Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had deliberately made changes at Bhojshala, a protected monument at Dhar in Madhya Pradesh.

Bhojshala, also known as Bhojshala Kamaal Moula Mosque, is a disputed ancient structure, the ownership of which is claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. 

At present, the Union Government has allowed Hindus to worship there on Tuesdays while Muslims are allowed to continue offering prayers on Fridays. 

"Urdu words and symbols of a particular religion were created on marble walls. Its second door too was opened. The government should give explanation on the issue," Narendranand Saraswati told reporters here after visiting Bhojshala.

"When the BJP leader Uma Bharti was the Chief Minister in 2004, pictures of Hindu deities were found on the pillars. But now these pillars have been rubbed to remove these pictures," he said, alleging that ASI was trying to remove Hindu religious symbols to turn it into a mosque.

The ASI officials responsible for this should be suspended and legal action should be taken against them, he said. 

The religious leader also demanded that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should bring back the idol of Goddess Saraswati which is at a London museum to restore Bhojshala's past glory.

Hindus consider Bhojshala to be a temple of Saraswati while the Muslims consider it a prayer place.

Hindus, under the present arrangement, are also allowed to perform puja there on Basant Panchami (which falls on February 12 this year). The day and its run-up is always marked by communal tension.

Efforts to contact ASI did not fructify.

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