A new controversy has erupted with a Telangana Congress leader launching a signature drive to stage a protest sit-in to allow the Charminar in Hyderabad to open to offer prayers.
Local Congress leader Rashid Khan claimed on Tuesday that prayers had previously been held at Charminar, a protected site of the Archaeological Survey of India, however, Muslims were not allowed to offer prayers at the site. two decades ago.
“Earlier in Charminar, people used to pray but since a person committed suicide at Charminar site, it has been stopped,” Maulana Ali Quadri told ANI. It comes amid the ongoing row over the restoration of 27 Hindu and Jain temples at the Qutub Minar complex in the nation’s capital, which the ASI challenged in court in Delhi last month.
Khan, while stating that he had started a signature campaign regarding a mosque near the Charminar, asked the ASI and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to open it to offer prayers.
“When we spoke to the Ministry of Culture, Kishan Reddy said there will be a public order issue. I will take all the signatures and go to the secular CM in Telangana. If our requests are not processed, we will do a sit-in to protest the Pragati Bhavan. False promises are being made across the country on mosques,” he said.
Khan further referred to the presence of a Bhagya Lakshmi temple near Charminar and called it an “illegal and unauthorized construction”, citing an ASI report.
“We believe in Ganga Jamuna tehzeeb. If prayers are held in the temple, let them happen, but likewise our mosque is closed and it should be open and we should be given permission for Namaaz,” he said. he added.
Khan demanded that the temple be closed “if ASI closes the mosque”. Reacting strongly to the Congress leader’s signature drive, former BJP MLC Ram Chander Rao said the party was trying to “create communal tension in Hyderabad”.
He also claimed that the Congress party had lost ground in the city.
“They are trying to gain ground by raking in communal issues which are about the state government and not the central government at all. There is a mosque which is a heritage structure which is closed and there is a temple where people have been worshiping for several years,” Rao said.
The BJP leader added that linking the two issues (temple and mosque near Charminar) is an attempt to ’cause communal tension’ in the old city by calling it an ‘offence’. “The state government should step in to maintain law and order and arrest him for creating communal unrest in the city. Both the TRS and Congress are trying to provoke the religious sentiments of minorities to their advantage,” he alleged.
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