A local court on Monday (5 February) pronounced its verdict in favour of the Hindu side in Lakshgriha-Mazar dispute in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh.
In its verdict, that came after a lengthy legal battle of 53 years, the court gave ownership rights over 100 bighas of land and tomb to the Hindu side.
The court, in favour of respondent Krishna Dutt Ji Maharaj, recognized the ancient mound as Lakshagriha (Lakhamandap), mentioned in the ancient epic Mahabharata, dismissing the claims of a Dargah and cemetery by the Muslim side.
Following the court's decision, heightened security measures have been implemented at Lakshagriha, and the police have been put on alert mode.
Located on an ancient hill near the meeting point of the Hindon and Krishni rivers in Barnawa village, Baghpat district, the site has been at the center of a long-standing controversy. This location housed a tomb of the Sufi saint Badruddin Shah and a graveyard, and is now a protected area under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The legal aspect of the dispute began in 1970 when Mukim Khan, the then 'mutwalli' (caretaker) of the graveyard, brought the issue to court. He sought to assert ownership over the land and requested legal measures to prevent Hindus from encroaching on the land, desecrating graves, and conducting 'havan' ceremonies there.
Krishnadutt Maharaj, a local Hindu priest, became a defendant in this case. The Hindu community argued that the site was historically significant as the location of the ‘lakshagriha’, a palace made of lac that Duryodhana had constructed to trap and kill the Pandavas.
Ranveer Singh Tomar, lawyer representing the Hindu side, said, “The 32-page court order has found glaring loopholes in the plaintiff’s claims on the property. For instance, the Muslim side claimed the Sufi saint's tomb was 600 years old and after his death, a graveyard also came up which was made the waqf property by the ‘Shah’ of that time, but it could not provide the ruler's name. In fact, there is no mention of the graveyard in govt records".
The court also took cognisance of the Official Gazette dated Dec 12, 1920, which was produced by defendants, in which the ASI had stated: “A little mound to the south of the town called 'Lakha Mandap' is supposed to be the scene of attempt to burn the Pandavas, situated Barnawa, 19 miles NW from Meerut in Sardhana tehsil".
The court further observed that the Muslim side could not establish whether the disputed site was a waqf property or a graveyard in 1920.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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