Mosque’s key will remain with Govt : Supreme Court’s order

Issue of ‘Pandav Wada’ at Jalgaon

Jalgaon, 20th April – On 19th April 2024, the Supreme Court passed an order that the keys to the mosque in Erandol Taluka in Jalgaon District would remain with the Municipal Council. The mosque is originally Hindus’ ‘Pandav Wada’. In its verdict, Justice Surya Kant and Justice K V Vishwanathan of the Supreme Court directed the Municipal Council to appoint an officer to open the mosque shortly before starting namaz in the mornings. This officer will keep the mosque open till Namaz is over. There will be no restrictions on other people entering or leaving the temples or memorials on the premises. People of all religions will be allowed to visit without any hassles. They have also added that the issue of the place of the mosque will remain as it is and till further directions, it will be under the control of the Waqf Board and Society which is the petitioner. The case filed by the Jumma Masjid Trust Committee against the Mumbai High Court’s decision has been dismissed by the Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice K V Vishwanathan.

What is the issue related to Pandav Wada ?

It is said about Pandav Wada in the Erandol area in Jalgaon District that Pandav spent a few years of exile in the Erndol area. The Hindu and Jain temple-like structures in this area are 800-1,000 years old.

Owing to Hindus’ grave indifference, Muslims started encroaching in this area 125 years ago; declared it as Waqf’s property, and built a mosque.

Devout Hindu groups such as Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) and ‘Pandav Wada Sangharsh Samiti’ were trying to release Pandav Wada from the clutches of Waqf Board’s encroachment.

The records of the existence of this controversial mosque are at least 100 years old. Devout Hindu organisations claim that the mosque was built by demolishing a Hindu temple. There is a reference to this Hindu temple even in Hindus’ holy scriptures.

As per the descriptions found in local folk tales and books, the Waqf Board Committee was trying to destroy Pandav Wada’s Hindu culture by building this disputed mosque.

District Collector imposes ban on namaz on 11th July 2023

The local administration temporarily sealed the controversial mosque on 16th July 2023.

Under clause 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the State Archaeology Department immediately imposed a ban on namaz in the protected area.

The collector had also directed police deployment in the area and had asked the local administration to take charge of the mosque, which has been officially declared as ‘disputed’. After this, the Jumma Masjid Trust Committee which looks after the disputed mosque structure had moved to the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court against the collector’s order banning entry into the premises for offering prayers. The petition, filed by the Jumma Masjid Trust Committee’s president Altaf Khan claimed that the collector had passed the ‘arbitrary and illegal’ order on 11th July which directed the trust to hand over the keys of the disputed ‘mosque’ to the Erandol municipal council’s chief officer. The High Court passed a stay order on the District Collector’s instructions.

The local administration should take over the Pandav Wada site – Prasad Dandawate, Petitioner

Mr Prasad Madhusudan Dandawate, the Petitioner of ‘Pandav Wada Sangharsh Samiti’ had informed ‘OpIndia’ News about this issue. Dandawate said, “About 4-5 Muslims offer namaz at this place. Now, they have been granted permission, but Hindus should also be allowed to visit Pandav Wada which has been illegally taken over by the Waqf Board.” The news on how Pandav Wada was changed into a mosque was published earlier. After this, Dandawate filed a complaint with the District Administration that the mosque built in a Hindu religious place was illegal and should be taken over by the administration.

  • Masjid Trust carries on illegal construction at the site of Pandav Wada
  • According to the complaint by ‘Pandav Wada Sangharsh Samiti (PSS)’,

Masjid Trust illegally took possession of this place and carried out any changes in this 800-1,000-year-old Pandav Wada, now secure under the State Archaeology Department.

The Trust fitted fans, cement doors, and electrical and water connections in Pandav Wada. ‘Wuzukhana’ has been built for Muslims, without permission, for Muslims to wash their hands before namaz.

Jumma Masjid Trust has destroyed Hindu symbols, signs and structures around Pandav Wada and illegally built this mosque by encroaching on the land.

PSS in the complaint to the administration and the court demanded that all the illegal construction and additions made to the Pandav Wada be removed, and the property be taken over by the authority. PSS also demanded a scientific evaluation to determine the age of the property.

Hindu Idols were found wherever places of namaz were demolished – Raju mama Bhole, BJP-MLA

In an interview with ‘Dainik Sanatan Prabhat’ on 19th July 2023 during the State Assembly session in Mumbai, Raju mama Bhole, a BJP-MLA informed about District Collector Aman Mittal issuing an interim order to close down an unauthorised madarasa and namaz offering in the historical Pandav Wada at Erandol in Jalgaon District. If 5000-year-old history is checked, it is observed that Hindu Deities have been found wherever the places of namaz were demolished. The name Pandav Wada suggests it is an ancient historical legacy of Hindus. The old history cannot be wiped out; therefore, the ban on unauthorised madarasa and namaz offering in Pandav Wada is an appropriate interim order issued by the District Collector.