Hindutva outfits tried to march to the Shahi Idgah in Mathura to recite the Hanuman Chalisa and perform other rituals to mark the 30th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on Tuesday.
Over two dozen members of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, the Dharm Raksha Sangh and other outfits were detained and some Hindutva leaders put under house arrest as a large number of police and paramilitary personnel were deployed across Mathura.
Several cases are being heard by courts demanding that the land on which the Shahi Idgah stands be handed over to Hindus, with the petitioners claiming it had been built after demolishing a part of the Krishna Janmasthan temple. The communal campaign has intensified after the Supreme Court in 2019 handed over the Ayodhya land where the Babri mosque stood to Hindus and paved the way for the construction of a Ram temple.
Brajesh Bhadauriya, a leader of the Hindu Mahasabha that is party to one of the Mathura cases, told reporters at the police station: “We were going to do a jalabhishek of Lord Krishna at the idgah when the police used force to stop us and brought us to the police station. We want to pay obeisance to our God and recite the Hanuman Chalisa there. Today is an auspicious day as we had got freedom from the Babri Masjid on this day 30 years ago. We hope that the same will happen to the structure in Mathura as we want the entire area to be handed over for the Krishna Janmasthan temple.”
Neeraj Gautam, national spokesperson of the Mahasabha; Kalpana Agrawal, state president of the Mahila Hindu Mahasabha; and Saurabh Sharma, Agra district unit in-charge of the organisation, were among those who were detained by the police on their way to the idgah.
Triyug Vishen, superintendent of police of Mathura rural, said: “We have also detained some members of the Mahakal Sena and the Gaurakshak Sena.”
None could recall hearing about the Mahakal Sena before Tuesday.
Martand Prakash Singh, superintendent of police of Mathura city, said: “We have deployed police and paramilitary personnel in the area. Anybody trying to break the law will be brought to book.”
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and some other Hindutva organisations that had spearheaded the campaign against the Babri Masjid and to build a Ram temple there have been saying after their “success” in Ayodhya that they would now “take over” the Shahi Idgah in Mathura and the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi. They claim that the structures in Mathura and Varanasi were built after demolishing portions of the Krishna Janmasthan temple and the Kashi Vishwanath temple, respectively, during Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s time.
Dinesh Sharma, treasurer of the Hindu Mahasabha, said: “A large number of our leaders are camping in Mathura. They will keep trying to reach the idgah. We warn the administration to let us do what we want or I will immolate myself.”
Sanjay Haryana, state spokesperson of the Hindu Mahasabha, said: “The government has deployed police at the gates of the homes of many leaders and is preventing us from offering players where the Krishna temple existed before Aurangzeb razed it. We will continue our effort and win one day.”
Chhaya Gautam, district president of the Mahasabha, said: “Our state president Mukesh Patel and Aligarh district chief Gauri Pathak have been put under house arrest.”