Hyderabad: A new controversy erupted with a Telangana Congress leader starting a signature campaign to hold a sit-in protest to allow the Charminar in Hyderabad to be opened for offering prayers.
Congress local leader Rashid Khan on Tuesday claimed that prayers were earlier held at the Charminar, an Archeological Survey of India protected site, however, Muslims were debarred from offering prayers at the site two decades ago.
“Earlier in the Charminar, people used to hold prayer but since a person died by suicide at the Charminar site, it was stopped,” said Maulana Ali Quadri told ANI.
This comes amid the ongoing row over the restoration of 27 Hindu and Jain temples in the Qutub Minar complex in the national capital, which the ASI opposed in the Delhi court last month.
Request to ASI, Ministry of Tourism and Culture
Khan, while stating that he started a signature campaign in regards to a mosque near the Charminar, requested the ASI and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to open it for offering prayers.
“When we spoke to the Ministry of Culture, Kishan Reddy said there will be a law and order problem. I will take all the signatures and go to the secular CM of Telangana. If our requests are not addressed, we will do a sit-in protest at the Pragati Bhavan. Wrong promises are being made across the country on mosques,” he said.
Khan further spoke of the presence of a Bhagya Lakshmi temple near Charminar and called it an “unauthorised encroached illegal construction” citing an ASI report.
“We believe in Ganga Jamuna tehzeeb. If prayers are happening in the temple, let it happen, but in the same way, our mosque is closed and it should be opened and we should be given permission for the Namaaz,” he added.
Khan demanded the temple be shut down “if ASI is closing the mosque”.
It is attempt to create tension: BJP
Reacting sharply to the Congress leader’s signature campaign, BJP former MLC Ram Chander Rao said that the party is trying to “create communal tension in Hyderabad”. He also claimed that the Congress party has lost ground in the city.
“They are trying to gain ground by raking up communal issues which are concerned with the state government and not at all concerned with the Central government. There is a mosque which is a heritage structure which is closed and there is a temple where people have been worshipping for several years,” Rao said.
The BJP leader added that connecting the two issues (temple and mosque near Charminar) is an attempt to “provoke communal tension” in the old city calling it an “offence”.
“The state government should step in to maintain law and order and arrest him for creating communal trouble in the city. Both TRS and Congress try to provoke religious sentiments of minorities for their benefits,” he alleged.