Agra mayor Naveen Jain on Wednesday said he, in the capacity of the national president of the mayor’s council, has appealed to all mayors to remove all plaques of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb from all places. The mayor said, “Aurangzeb was a cruel ruler who destroyed Hindu temples and also compelled people of the Hindu community to convert to Islam,” adding that there should not be any place for Aurangzeb in India.
The comment comes amid a row over AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi’s recent visit to Aurangzeb’s tomb in Aurangabad. Following his visit, the security in and around the grave of Aurangzeb in Khuldabad was tightened following calls by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to ‘uproot’ it, here on Wednesday.
While MNS activist Gajanan Kale on Tuesday questioned the need for preserving Aurangzeb’s grave, BJP MLC Prasad Lad threatened to remove the small monument which is one of the major tourist attractions in and around Aurangabad.
In the wake of the potential threats to the grave, the Maharashtra Police and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have deployed additional guards and a van at the site, though it is still open for public.
Demanding that the extra security must be immediately removed, Lad asked whether this is the ‘Hindutva brand’ of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, when chanting Hanuman Chalisa is considered sedition.
“This is the same Aurangzeb who executed Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj (the son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj), demolished Hindu temples to construct mosques. Now, the CM is providing security to Aurangzeb’s grave. Is this Sonia Gandhi-Sharad Pawar style of Hindutva or the Hindutva of the late Balasaheb Thackeray,” Lad asked.
He called upon the state government to immediately yank off the new security measures and vowed to uproot the Mughal Emperor’s grave.
The Gyanvapi Mosque, cases regarding which are being heard by a Varanasi court and the Supreme Court, was also believed to be built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Petitions claimed Aurangzeb demolished the Kashi Vishwanath temple built over two thousand years ago and built the mosque in its place.