"Temple Preps On For Mathura": Yogi Adityanath's Deputy Amid Mosque Row

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya tweeted, "A grand temple in Ayodhya and Kashi is under construction; preparations are on for Mathura"

UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya tweeted "preparations are on in Mathura"

Lucknow:

Days before the anniversary of the Bari Masjid demolition on Monday and with crucial state elections starting in just over two months, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has tweeted what appears to be a call for a temple in Mathura, the western UP town believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna and where a prominent mosque - the Shahi Idgah - is located right next to the Krishna janmabhoomi or birthplace.

This morning, Mr Maurya tweeted, "A grand temple in Ayodhya and Kashi is under construction; preparations are on for Mathura."

The words appeared to be a play on a slogan that first gained traction among right-wing groups in the early 90s after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. "Yeh sirf jhanki hai, Kashi, Mathura baaki hai (this is just a trailer, Kashi, Mathura still to come)" - went the slogan first shouted by right-wing activists on their way back after the Ayodhya mosque was demolished.

Mr Maurya's tweet came just as a right wing group, Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, said it was calling off a proposed march to Mathura on Monday. The group had planned to install a Lord Krishna idol at the Shahi Idgah after elaborate rituals.

Reacting to the tweet by the BJP leader, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav told news agency ANI, "BJP has the agenda of robbing the poor and filling the pockets of the rich, they have always worked to benefit the rich class. No rath yatra or new mantra is going to help BJP in the upcoming polls."

Last year, a civil court in Mathura dismissed a petition that sought to "reclaim" the Krishna janmabhoomi, claiming that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had destroyed a part of a temple at the site believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

The petition also called for the mosque next to the temple to be removed.

The court refused to admit the suit, citing a law that bars litigation that alters status quo of 1947 at any religious place. The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, had exempted the Ayodhya ownership dispute.

In February, another court in Mathura issued notices to Shahi Idgah Masjid management committee and others, seeking their stands on a fresh plea for the removal of the 17th century mosque from near the place believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

This plea also demanded cancellation of a 1967 ruling of a Mathura court, which ratified a land deal between the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan and the Shahi Idgah Management Committee, allowing the existence of the mosque near the temple.

In response to the right-wing group's call, the UP Police said they have banned large gatherings in Mathura ahead of the Babri Masjid demolition anniversary .

"Section 144 is in place here and if any person from any religion or community uses social media to spread rumours or incites religious passion, we will take very strict action," Mathura Police chief Gaurav Grover said in a video statement.

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