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Qutub Minar is “not a place of worship” and changes to the existing structure are not allowed: ASI tells Delhi court

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date
Qutub Minar is “not a place of worship” and changes to the existing structure are not allowed: ASI tells Delhi court

New Delhi: Amidst the Gyanvapi Masjid controversy, the Qutub Minar case is being heard in Delhi’s Saket Court. The Hindu side has filed a petition demanding that they be allowed to worship here, as the Qutub Minar has been built by demolishing 27 Hindu and Jain temples. Harishankar Jain is presenting the argument on behalf of the Hindu side. The Hindu side also claims that the Qutub Minar is actually a Vishnu pillar. Meanwhile, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) submitted its reply on the Qutub Minar case to the Saket Court, where it has opposed the petition.

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The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Tuesday told a Delhi court that Qutub Minar is not a place of worship and alteration of the existing structure is not permissible. The ASI’s statement came as the Delhi Court heard a petition claiming the monument has pictures of deities suggesting the Hindu origin of the building. The plea sought permission to worship the deities.

The ASI’s statement came as the Delhi Court heard a petition claiming the monument has pictures of deities suggesting the Hindu origin of the building. The plea sought permission to worship the deities.

Opposing the plea, the ASI filed an affidavit in Saket Court in an interim application related to the restoration of temples in the Qutub Minar complex.

The ASI further stated that “there is no provision under the AMASR Act 1958 under which worship can be started at any living monument. Hon’ble High court of Delhi has clearly mentioned this in its order dated 27/01/1999.”

It may be mentioned that a petition was filed before a district court in Delhi on behalf of Jain deity Tirthankar Rishabh Dev and Hindu god Vishnu by advocates Hari Shankar Jain and Ranjana Agnihotri. The petition cites a short history purportedly displayed by ASI which, according to the plea, narrates how 27 temples were demolished by Qutubdin Aibak, a general in Mohamad Ghori’s army, and the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was raised by reusing the material.

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The plea sought to declare that Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh, Lord Sun, Goddess Gauri, Lord Hanuman, Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishab Dev have the right to be “restored” within the temple complex at the site of Quwwatul Mosque Complex, Mehrauli, south-west Delhi “after rebuilding it with the same honour and dignity”.

A controversy also recently broke out over reports that the Culture Ministry has ordered the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct excavations at the Qutub Minar complex. However, Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy has denied the reports.

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