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ASI seeks 8 more weeks to complete scientific survey of disputed monument Bhojshala in Madhya Pradesh

The ASI, in an application filed before the Indore bench of the high court on Monday, said it needed some more time to understand the nature of exposed portions of the structures in the disputed premises.
Last Updated : 23 April 2024, 09:15 IST
Last Updated : 23 April 2024, 09:15 IST

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Indore: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is conducting a scientific survey at the medieval-era Bhojshala complex in Dhar district on the Madhya Pradesh High Court's direction, has sought eight more weeks to complete the exercise.

The ASI, in an application filed before the Indore bench of the high court on Monday, said it needed some more time to understand the nature of exposed portions of the structures in the disputed premises.

Hindus consider Bhojshala, an ASI-protected 11th-century monument, to be a temple dedicated to Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati), while the Muslim community call it Kamal Maula Mosque.

As per an arrangement made by the ASI on April 7, 2003, Hindus perform puja in the Bhojshala premises on Tuesdays, while Muslims offer namaz in the complex on Fridays.

The high court has already fixed April 29 as the next date for hearing in the Bhojshala dispute case. The ASI's fresh application is also likely to come up for hearing the same day.

The high court had on March 11 ordered the ASI to conduct a 'scientific survey' of the Bhojshala-Kamal Moula mosque complex within six weeks.

On the court's direction, the ASI started the survey of the disputed complex on March 22.

The survey was ordered on a plea from an outfit called Hindu Front For Justice (HFJ).

The ASI, in its application, said a detailed survey of the complex and its peripheral area is in progress using scientific tools, and its team is conducting detailed documentation of the entire monument.

Excavation, which is a very systematic and slow process, is also in progress, and more time will be needed to understand the nature of exposed portions of the structures, it said.

"On close examination of the monument, it is observed that later filling in the entrance porch is hiding the original features of the structure, and its removal is to be done very carefully, without causing any damage to the original structure, which is a slow and time-taking process," the application stated.

The application also pointed out that the ASI has requested the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) to conduct a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey.

A team from the NGRI and their scientists were surveying the entire area regularly, strictly complying with the directions passed by the High Court, it said.

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Published 23 April 2024, 09:15 IST

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