Temple-mosque disputes: After Ayodhya, CM Adityanath pitches for Mathura

Adityanath criticised foreign invaders and accused previous governments, particularly the Samajwadi Party, of neglecting development in Ayodhya

Yogi Adityanath advocated for the construction of a temple at the site of a mosque in Mathura, citing religious significance (photo: IANS)
Yogi Adityanath advocated for the construction of a temple at the site of a mosque in Mathura, citing religious significance (photo: IANS)
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PTI

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday, 7 February appeared to make a pitch in the assembly for a temple where a mosque stands now in Mathura, saying that Krishna Kanhaiya wouldn't have it any other way.

The CM indirectly also referred to two other shrines involved in temple-mosque disputes in his state -- the Ram temple in Ayodhya built after a Supreme Court go-ahead in 2019 and the Kashi Vishwanath shrine in Varanasi.

Participating in a debate on the Governor's Address, he recalled the Mahabharata episode in which the Kauravas refused to concede land equivalent to the "point of a needle" to the Pandavas.

He said the same thing happened with Kashi, Mathura, and Ayodhya. "We have asked only for three."

These are not ordinary places – these are lands of gods, he said.

"But there is stubbornness, and when this stubbornness starts getting political and the politics of vote-bank starts, then a controversy arises," he said.

Adityanath alleged that foreign invaders not only looted the wealth of India, but also tried to end faith in the country. "It is unfortunate that after independence, there were malicious attempts to glorify those foreign invaders for vote-bank." The country is not ready to accept it, he said.

The CM referred to the recent consecration led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Ram temple, and also slammed the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) government of ignoring the development of Ayodhya.

"When people saw the celebration in Ayodhya, Nandi Baba too said why he should wait. Without waiting, he too got the barricades removed in the night," he said.

And Lord Krishna too wasn't the one to be dissuaded, he added. "Aur hamare Krishna Kanhaiya kahan manane wale hein."

The Nandi Baba reference was to a recent Varanasi district court order allowing a Hindu priest to offer prayers in a cellar in the Gyanvapi mosque, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

The order came on a plea by a Varanasi resident who claimed that his grandfather used to offer regular prayers in the cellar up to 1993, when he was stopped from doing so.

The same night, hours after the court order, the local administration removed a section of the barricade to provide access to the basement.

A court-ordered Archaeological Survey of India report recently suggested that the Gyanvapi mosque was built after the demolition of a temple there during Aurangzeb’s rule.

In Mathura, Hindu litigants make a similar claim.

They say the Shahi Idgah was built on the site believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna. A Krishna temple stands next to the mosque.

The CM in his speech also accused the previous SP government of ignoring development in Ayodhya. "We agree that the temple dispute was in the court but the roads there could have been widened. The 'ghats' there could have been revived," he said.

"Electricity could have been supplied to the residents of Ayodhya. Sanitation arrangements could have been made there. Better health facilities could have been provided there. An airport could have been built there," he added.

"With what intentions was this development work stopped?" Adityanath said. “What was the intention in blocking the development of Ayodhya, blocking the development of Kashi, blocking the development of Mathura-Vrindavan?”

SP leader and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was present in the House.

Adityanath also said that he had hoped Yadav, also Leader of Opposition in UP Assembly, will speak about "the biggest event of this century" (the consecration of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya). "But he kept diverting attention."

In an apparent reference to SP MLA and Akhilesh Yadav's uncle Shivpal Yadav, the chief minister said, "After all, the names of three family members were there (in the Lok Sabha candidates' list), but why was chachu's (uncle) name not there? If these people had believed in Lord Ram, they would not have done injustice to chachu."

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