Row over proposal to erect Laxman's statue near mosque

Row over proposal to erect Laxman's statue near mosque

Muslims offer Friday prayers during the holy month of Ramadan, at Teele Wali Masjid, in Lucknow. (PTI file photo)

A proposal to construct an idol of Laxman, the younger brother of Lord Rama, near the historic 'Teele Wali Masjid' in Lucknow has triggered a huge controversy.

The mosque, said to be built around 350 years ago during the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, is situated on the banks of the Gomti river and is among the most visited mosques in the city.

The Lucknow Municipal Corporation had recently given its nod to construct a huge idol right in front of the mosque. The proposal was mooted by some BJP corporators.

The Imam (priest) of the mosque Fazle Mannan said that the complex was a protected place. "No construction in or around the mosque can be undertaken without the consent of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)," he said.

Some other senior Muslim clerics also raised objections over the proposed construction.

"A large number of Muslims offer special prayers at the mosque on the occasion of Eid and on the last Friday before the end of Ramzan... Hundreds of people have to offer prayers on the road as the place is filled... According to the tenets of Islam, prayers cannot be offered in front of or behind an idol," said another senior Muslim cleric.

The clerics plan to meet the governor and take up the matter.

BJP leaders, however, contested the claim and said that Laxman was closely related to the city and it was the ideal place to install his idol. 

The saffron party leaders also claimed that the mosque was in fact situated on "Laxman Tila".