Bengaluru: As the controversy surrounding the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi continues, Hindu activists in Karnataka are all set to take a legal recourse on surveying and inspecting the Jamia Masjid, located in the historical town of Srirangapatna in Mandya district.
Aswathi.S., District Commissioner (DC) of Mandya, has already received a petition by the activists to carry out an inspection to verify if the Jamia Masjid was built on the ruins of a Hanuman temple.
“The DC has informed us that she has already sent out a request to the government. If the government does not respond, we are ready to approach the court,” C.T. Manjunath, state secretary of the Narendra Modi Vichar Manch, told IANS, adding that legal action will be pursued in coordination with Hindu organizations.
Jamia Masjid, built by the erstwhile ruler of Mysuru Tipu Sultan, has come in the eye of the storm as Hindu organisations have announced the congregation of 6 lakh maladhaari devotees of Lord Hanuman in Srirangapatna during the upcoming Hanuman Jayanti, raising law and order concerns.
The organisations have also sought a nod from authorities to conduct prayers in the mosque.
The mosque authorities have already made several appeals to the authorities to protect the shrine from Hindu activists.
Jamia Masjid also called as Masjid-i-Ala, is located inside the Srirangapatna fort. Built in 1786-87, the mosque has three inscriptions that mentions nine names of the Prophet Muhammad.
The mosque has two minarets and is built over an elevated platform. There are galleried balconies that separate each stage of the minaret. The mosque is two-storied and unlike other mosques, it does not have a dome.
The Jamia Masjid is administered by the Bengaluru Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Meanwhile, C.T. Manjunath explains that they strongly believe with evidence that the Jamia Masjid was built after razing down a Hanuman temple.
“B. Lewis Rice, a British historian, archaeologist and educationist in his report to the ASI mentions about Hanuman temple on Page number 61 in 1935,” he told IANS.
“Apart from this, Malabar Manual, Mysore Gazetteer by Lewis Rice, Tareeq-e-Tipu, Haider-e-Nishani also give enough proof of razing down of temples by Tipu Sultan. The sword of Tipu Sultan has an inscription on it which reads that it will go against those who do not follow Islam.
“It is not intolerant to ask for our temple. There are 7 lakh active mosques in the country. If Hindus were to be intolerant, this would not have been possible. Even Muslim nations do not have such a great number of mosques,” he adds.
Manjunath says that there is a board put up by the ASI which bans any activity in the mosque, but Tablighis arrive here every year for training.
“The idol if Goddess Annapoorneshwari is not found now. The idols and footprints of Hindu idols, religious symbols are chiseled out. The issue has been raised already,” he explains.
Hindu activists maintain that there are emblems of the erstwhile Hoysala kingdom inside the mosque. There is ‘Kalyani’ (traditional Hindu water body built inside temple premises) inside the mosque. Every pillar also has the emblem of ‘Gandubherunda’ (two-headed bird in Hindu mythology) and ‘Simha’ (lion).
Hindu activists believe that Hanuman temples are built in eight directions of the historical Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple in Srirangapatna town. The Jamia Masjid was also one among them.
Nanje Gowda, a senior journalist working for a reputed Kannada daily, countered the view and told IANS: “The famous, most sacred and ancient 9th century Sri Ranganatha Temple in Srirangapatna town which is located within 200 metres of Tipu Palace Lotus Mahal is intact. It has not been disturbed by either Tipu Sultan or his father Hyder Ali. In fact the temple premises have Hyder ‘mantapa’ (platform). Hyder Ali has generously contributed to the temple.”
Gowda fears that this would become a major issue in the region. “After hijab crisis, saffron shawls have reached almost all Hindu students. Anything can happen in the coming days,” he said.
Rishi Kumar Swamiji of Kali Mutt was arrested in January on charges of giving a call to demolish the Jamia Masjid.
He had demanded for it to be closed until it was decided whether it is a temple or a mosque.
“Even a Hindu child will get provoked after seeing the pillars, platforms for Nag devtas. I am a sage. How should I feel? I naturally felt pained on seeing what had happened to my temple. I have faith in law. Through this law, the Ram Mandir is being in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. I will get justice in the case,” Rishi Kumar Swamiji said.
“For Babri Masjid, the authorities have to dig land beneath the mosque and find proof. But, in this case the authorities in Srirangapatna city will just have to get documents of the mosque.”
The historical Srirangapatna is regarded as Karnataka’s Ayodhya by Hindu activists.
Sources say that with Hindu activists taking up the issue, the party is going to reap rich electoral success in the region which is presently considered as the bastion of regional party JD (S).
Srirangapatna town is located in Mandya district, considered as the heartland of the dominant Vokkaliga community. With Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, State Congress President D.K. Shivakumar pitching in against Hindutva ideology, experts say, it won’t be easy for BJP to reap political benefits here.
It also remains to be seen how the situation unfolds in the town, which will have a direct impact on capital Bengaluru.