Mangaluru: In the most recent development in the mosque vs. temple debate, the authenticity of a 700-year old mosque is being questioned. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have staked claim to a 700-year old Jumaa masjid in Malali village near Ganjimath area in the communally sensitive Mangaluru region. The agitation began with the Hindutva activists claiming that the mosque was actually a temple because of a design on a section of the old woodwork. The committee members of the mosque have refuted the same saying that the design was a part of the Indo-Arabic style, a common construction style across the coastal region.
On Wednesday, Mangaluru Commissioner N Shashi Kumar has imposed a section 144 CrPC near the mosque. But despite the orders, 500 meters away from the mosque, a pooja and Hindu ritual was held at the Rama Anjaneya temple by the VHP and Bajrang Dal.
Gopalakrishna Panikkar a Kerala-based priest and astrologer claimed that during the 'Tambula Prashne' ritual the sanctum sanctorum of a temple was shifted from where it was initially standing, i.e., where the mosque is currently standing because of some conflict. He said that the entire city will suffer if people don't come together and 'correct' it. He divined that it might have been a Shiva temple but was not able to 'determine' the reason for its demolition.
Along the coasts of Karnataka and parts of Kerala, 'Tambula Prashne' is a common occult practice. Priests who claim to have an access to the 'netherworld' invoke the spirits of their ancestors with the help of certain rituals.
As the next step to understanding the history of the place, the activists are planning on conducting a "Ashtamangala Prashne", after the Tambula Prashne.
'Temple-like structure' was allegedly found at the mosque during renovations, according to the Hindu groups and they have sworn to 'find the truth'. The supposed temple-like structure was found when renovation works were being carried out at the 700-year old mosque. A Karnataka court had ordered the mosque management to halt all construction works after the controversy was erupted.
Activists from Bajrang Dal and VHP have pledged to find out the truth behind the mosque, following which N Shashi Kumar, the Mangaluru Commissioner issued the prohibitory orders around the Assayed Adbullahil Madani mosque at Malali.
Sarfaraz Malali, the General Secretary of the mosque said that Indo-Arabic style was used to build the mosque. "The wood carvings at the Malali mosque are also prominent at the Zeenath Baksh Jumma Masjid in Mangaluru. "Hindus and Muslims have lived in harmony here for hundreds of years. This new claim is an attempt to politicise and communalise," he added.
Another movement has been started by the Hindu activists to "take back" Srirangapatna Jamia Masjid in the Mandya district, where it is being claimed that the mosque was built after destroying a Hanuman temple. A memorandum has been submitted to the district administration asking them to conduct verification into the mosque similar to the Gyanvapi mosque. They have said that they will go to the court unless the government takes an action.