Bhojshala: ASI allows Hindus to do puja, Muslims to offer namaz on Basant Panchmi

Dhar: Hindus can perform 'puja' and Muslims can offer namaz at the disputed Bhojshala monument in the district on 'Basant Panchmi' festival on February 12, the Archaeological Survey of India said in an order.

Tension has been brewing up in the district since last one month in run up to the festival as members of both the communities could not arrive at an mutually agreeable solution over paying obeisance as per their respective faith at the protected archaeological structure.

Hindus consider Bhojshala as the temple of Goddess Waghdevi (Saraswati), whereas Muslims treat it as Kamal Moula mosque. According to the ASI order released today by the district public relation office, "In the ancient protected monument Bhojshala/Kamal Moula Mosque, both puja and namaz will take place on February 12, Basant Panchmi festival. The order is effective for that day only."

In the past too, tension had prevailed in Dhar city whenever 'Basant Panchmi' festival fell on a Friday, once forcing the administration to impose a curfew to conduct namaz at the designated time. As per the ASI order, Hindus will perform puja from sunrise to 12 noon and from 3.30 PM to sunset on the day of the festival, while Muslims can offer namaz between 1-3 PM.

The order was issued by ASI Director General Rakesh Tiwari on January 20, 2016, under the Provisions of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958 and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rule 1959.

It also mentioned an order issued on February 5, 1998 by the ASI. The entry in Bhojshala premises will be free for both the communities on Basant Panchmi. In the normal course, Hindus are allowed to perform puja on every Tuesday while Muslims can offer namaz every Friday, while the structure is open to all on rest of days.

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