A Hindu temple-like structure has been discovered underneath an old mosque on the outskirts of Mangaluru on Thursday, news organization ANI reported. The structure was unearthed in the Malali Market Mosque premises that falls under the Ganjimath Gram Panchayat limits, reports said.
The Asayyid Abdullahil Madani Mosque was demolished for the purpose of renovation that was being conducted by the mosque authorities. As the renovation process was undergoing, the pattern of the Kalas, Tomaras and pillars of a rare temple was discovered. The matter has aroused suspicion by hindutva groups that a temple belonging to the Jain or Hindu religion is likely to have been there in the past.
The news went viral in no time, with a number of people including many Hindu organizations rushing to the spot and urging authorities to verify documents linked with the mosque and land upon which it is built. However, police reportedly denied entry to public since the afternoon as an effort to prevent any sort of untoward incidents.
With people suggesting that there is a possibility of the existence of a Hindu temple at the site earlier, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders have come forward and appealed to the district administration to halt the renovation work till the documents were verified.
Sharan Pumpwell, divisional secretary of VHP said, “Prima facie it seems that an old temple is converted into a mosque. Both the interior as well as the exterior design of the building resembles that of a temple. The Gram Panchayat should cancel the renovation permission given to the mosque. The archeological department should carry out investigation. Action should be taken to allow the structure to be in the same state as it was before.”
MLA Dr. Bharat Shetty said, “The land which was allotted for the construction of mosque was a government land. As signs of temples are seen in the structure, instructions are given for a comprehensive investigation. Till then, work will stay suspended.”
Meanwhile, the Dakshina Kannada Commissionerate has released an order urging people to maintain the status quo of the religious structure till further orders. The authorities are also checking the land records and appealed people to maintain peace during document verification.
The Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada Rajendra KV told ANI, “I have received information from field officials as well as police department about the issue. The District administration is checking the land records and entries regarding the ownership details. We will take reports both from the endowment department and the Waqf Board.”
“We will check the validity of the claims made and take the appropriate decision very soon. Till then, I have ordered to maintain status quo and requested people not to jump into any conclusion. I am requesting people to maintain law and order and peace,” the official further added.
It is highly unlikely that the Muslims who were praying at the mosque were unaware that the structure was constructed on a temple land. The recent discovery comes close on the heels of idols Hanuman and Shanidev being recovered during excavation in a dargah in Uttar Pradesh. The idols were found at the Bade Miyan Dargah premises located in the Jalesar area and locals have alleged that the site earlier used to house a Hindu temple which was subsequently covered by the dargah. The locals have labeled charges of the religious structure having been built on encroached temple land.
Constructing mosques or dargahs atop temples has been a deliberate practice of Islamic invaders. The Babri Masjid has been an apt example of such an encroachment. Mention must also be made of the mosque that has encroached upon the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple at Mathura. In wake of these discoveries, it is high time the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) steps up and kick-start a thorough excavation drive.