Places Of Worship Act, 1991 prohibits the conversion of a place of worship
Amid the Gyanvapi–Kashi Vishwanath Mandir row, Brijmohan Agrawal, Chhattisgarh BJP leader accused the Congress of playing appeasement politics and alleged that the entire issue erupted as the P V Narasimha Rao government brought the bill (The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991).
The Places Of Worship Act, 1991, seeks to prohibit the conversion of a place of worship and maintain its religious character as was at the time of India’s Independence on August 15, 1947. Section 4 (1) of the Act states: “The religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day.”
The Act was brought about by a Bill introduced by the erstwhile Union Home Minister in the P V Narasimha Rao Cabinet, Shankarrao Bhavrao Chavan. The Act was passed when BJP leader L K Advani’s Rath Yatra for the Ram Janmabhoomi movement gained massive support.
BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay challenged the Places of Worship Act, 1991, last year in the Supreme Court. He said that the law was a contravention of the principle of secularism as laid down by the Constitution of India.
BJP leader Brijmohan Agrawal said, “Hindus worshipped Shiva in Gyanvapi before 2001 but due to the bill, Namaz offerings started and Hindus couldn’t worship. Even today ‘Nandi Maharaj’ sits in front of the mosque.”
The Chhattisgarh BJP leader’s reaction to Gyanvapi Masjid comes after the Supreme Court on May 17 directed the District Magistrate of Varanasi to ensure the protection of the area inside the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex where ‘Shivling’ is said to be found in the court-ordered video graphics survey.
The top court passed the order while hearing the plea of the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid which manages the affairs of Gyanvapi mosque.
Agrawal also tried to corner the Congress government in Chhattisgarh over the loudspeaker issue. The volume frequency of loudspeakers during azaan has been reduced in other states. Congress party should make it clear whether the Bhupesh Baghel government will issue the order on the same lines in the state, the BJP MLA said.
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