Jain Community Petitions for Worship Rights at Bhojshala-Kamal Maula Mosque Complex

A writ petition has been filed in the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore bench, by Delhi-based social activist Salek Chand Jain, seeking worship rights for the Jain community at the disputed Bhojshala-Kamal Maula Mosque complex in Dhar. The petition, filed on June 29, claims that the site historically housed a Jain Gurukul and temple dedicated to Goddess Ambika.

The legal plea surfaces amidst preparations by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to submit a report on the 11th-century complex, as mandated by the High Court. The court’s interest in a detailed account follows a March 11 directive for a ‘scientific survey’ of the site, triggered by a plea from ‘Hindu Front for Justice’, which contends that the complex is a temple of Goddess Vagdevi (Saraswati). Conversely, the Muslim community recognizes the site as Kamal Maula Mosque.

Salek Chand Jain’s lawyer, Manohar Singh Chauhan, confirmed that the High Court is expected to hear the case this week. The petition emphasizes the complex’s significance to the Jain community, detailing its past role as an educational and religious center where monks and scholars engaged in extensive scriptural translations.

Controversially, the petition also challenges the identity of an idol, purportedly of Goddess Vagdevi, claiming it to be that of the Jain deity Ambika. This idol, according to the petition, was installed by King Bhoj of Dhar in 1034 AD and is currently housed in a London museum. The plea seeks the repatriation and reinstatement of the idol to its original site in the Bhojshala complex.

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Furthermore, the petition requests that the central government employ radiocarbon dating techniques to ascertain the age of the complex and its associated artefacts, potentially shedding light on the site’s historical and cultural lineage.

The ASI’s survey, which commenced on March 22, concluded recently, with a full report due to be presented to the court by July 2.

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