• 13 Feb 2016
• Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
• Punya Priya Mitra and Ritesh Mishra [email protected]
DHAR: A face-off between rightwing Hindu groups and the administration i n Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar blew over after Muslims offered Friday namaaz under heavy security cover at a disputed shrine claimed by both communities.
Communal t ension had been brewing in the town, 255 km from capital Bhopal, over the past few days with Hindu groups demanded that Muslims be barred from namaaz at the shrine on Friday, celebrated as ‘Basant Panchami’ to appropriate Goddess Saraswati.
Even as Hindu devotees offered puja and performed ‘havan’ outside the shrine, known as Bhojsala , police escorted a group of 25 Muslims through a back gate. After they offered prayers on the roof of the Bhojshala, they were escorted out of the complex, the divisional commissioner Sanjay Dubey and additional director general of police Vipin Maheshwari said in a formal announcement.
The Archeological Survey of India, which maintains the historic structure, allows Hindus to pray at the shrine on Tuesdays while Muslims can do so on Fridays.