Row over proposal to erect Lakshman’s statue near mosque in Lucknow
Lucknow. June 30. Lucknow Nagar Nigam’s decision to install a grand statue of Lord Lakshman outside Teele Wali Masjid has kicked up a row after Muslim clerics opposed the move.
The mosque, said to be built around 350 years ago during the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, is situated on the banks of the Gomti river and is among the most visited mosques in the city.
During Ram Janambhoomi movement in late 1980s, an attempt was made to liberate the place but was thwarted. Later, a similar proposal to install a statue of Lord Lakshman was floated in 1993-94 outside the mosque but was shelved following strong opposition by Muslim clerics and members of the community.
Lalji Tandon, former Lucknow MP and senior BJP leader, has also made a mention of Lakshman Teela in his book titled ‘Ankaha Lucknow’.
However, the area falls under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Lucknow Nagar Nigam would need an approval to install the statue. The municipal authorities are also facing an opposition from Muslim clerics, saying the people won’t be able to offer prayers in the vicinity of a statue.
“During Eid and other important occasions, lakhs of Muslims offer prayers outside the mosque. But when a statue is installed, they won’t be able to offer namaz as in Islam we cannot offer namaz in front of a statue,” said Maulana Fazl-e-Mannan of Teele Wali Masjid.
“We will not allow any statue to be installed near mosque,” warned Maulana Fazl-e-Mannan, Imam of the mosque, suggesting to install the statue at the Lakshman Mela ground on the banks of river Gomti.
The BJP Mayor Sanyukta Bhatia, however, said that Lucknow Nagar Nigam Executive Committee has passed a resolution to install a grand statue of Lord Lakshman but it would be installed at a place where no one should have any objection.
“The statue will not be installed at the land of the mosque where namaj is held but planned at roundabout outside mosque. A final decision is yet to be taken in this regard. If anyone has any objections, we may reconsider the decision,” said Bhatia.
Lead Image: Muslims offer Friday prayers during the holy month of Ramadan, at Teele Wali Masjid, in Lucknow. (PTI file photo)