The Baghpat District Court in Uttar Pradesh on Monday rejected a decades-old petition filed by a group of Muslims seeking the ownership of a site which contains a graveyard and the dargah of Sufi saint Sheikh Badruddin Shah.
Refusing to entertain the plea, Civil Judge Shivam Dwivedi issued an order asking the Muslim side to hand over the dargah to Hindus.
The dargah of Sufi saint Badruddin Shah is located in Barnawa village of Baghpat district. It is believed to be 600 years old. Disputes related to the site began 53 years ago as a group of Hindus claimed that it was the location of the ‘Lakshagriha’ mentioned in the Mahabharata.
According to the Hindu legend, Lakshagriha is a palace built by Duryodhana to burn the Pandavas to death.
In 1970, the dargah caretaker, Mukeem Khan, approached the court alleging that a Hindu mob had trespassed inside the dargah and tried to offer prayers.
He sought to establish ownership of the land and ensure legal protection against Hindu encroachment.
The petition also aimed at preventing desecration of graves, and halting ‘havan’ ceremonies conducted on the premises.
Krishnadutt Maharaj, a local Hindu priest, was named as a defendant in the case.
Mukeem Khan, a resident of Barnawa, filed the petition in a court in Meerut in the capacity of an office bearer of the Waqf Board.
Later, the case was transferred to the court in Baghpat.
After five decades, the court arrived at this decision giving preference to the ‘Lakshagriha’ claim reignited by the Hindu nationalists in the recent past.
According to the Muslim side, the Sufi saint’s tomb was 600 years old, and the graveyard came up later after his death.
The court stressed on the technical loophole; whether the disputed site was designated as a ‘waqf property’ or a ‘graveyard’ in 1920, which the Muslim side failed to establish, according to the court.
“We presented all the evidence of Lakshagriha in the court based on which the court rejected the petition of the Muslim side,” Ranveer Singh Tomar, the advocate for the respondents in the petition told PTI.
Advocate Shahid Khan, representing the case on behalf of the petitioners, said they would move to the higher court and present their case.