Ayodhya: Nearly 24 years after the historic Babri Masjid was demolished, resulting in communal strife across India, a 300-year-old dilapidated mosque would be rebuilt on the land belonging to Hanumangarhi temple in Ayodhya.
Days after local civic body declared Aalamgiri Masjid 'hazardous' and pasted notice banning entry into the building, Hanumangarhi temple trust, which is in possession of the masjid land, not only allowed its reconstruction and agreed to bear cost but also welcomed Muslims to offer namaz in premises.
The Aalamgiri Masjid was built with the consent of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb by one of his generals in Ayodhya in 17th century.
The structure and its land situated in an area called Argara came in the possession of Hanumangarhi temple of Ayodhya after Nawab Shujauddaulah donated the land to the temple around 1765, on the condition that namaz would continue at the masjid.
However, gradually the practice of offering namaz came to an end and the masjid was lying abandoned with no renovation or maintenance.
Seeking its condition, Ayodhya municipal board recently put up a notice on its wall and banned entry into the masjid. It galvanized a group of local Muslims and they met Hanumangarhi's chief priest Mahant Gyan Das, requesting him the permission to get the masjid repaired. Their meeting ended in a pleasant surprise.
The temple management not only allowed the local Muslims to get the masjid reconstructed, but also offered to bear the cost.
"I asked our Muslim brothers to renovate and reconstruct the masjid on our expense and also issued no-objection certificate for Muslims to offer namaz as this is also a 'Khuda ka ghar'," Mahant Gyan Das told TOI.
"I am also extending support to reno vation of a mausoleum on the premises which is as old as the masjid," added Gyan Das, who has been holding iftar for Ayodhya Muslims during Ramzan.
Elaborating on the matter, historian Roshan Taqui said, "After the battle of Buxar in 1764, Shujauddaulah, the Nawab of Awadh, moved his capital from Faizabad to Lucknow. During his reign in Faizabad he had donated the land in Ayodhya for the construction of Hanumangarhi temple.
"After he shifted to Lucknow, when a delegation of mahants visited him and appealed for more land, the nawab donated four pucca bighas of land that already had on it a masjid built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb."