MP minister installs Saraswati idols in public places

Calling it the first such worship of Saraswati in the state, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Umashankar Gupta Wednesday installed idols of the goddess at public places in the capital. The minister's initiative has coincided with heightened communal tension over Bhojshala, a disputed shrine in Dhar town, which Hindus call a Saraswati temple and Muslims a mosque.

Gupta said he got the idea during his visit to Jharkhand where a three-day Gyanotsava is organized to coincide with public worship of the goddess.

Four Saraswati idols were installed at Nehru Nagar, Mata Mandir, Jawahar Chowk and Chuna Bhatti localities that fall within his Assembly constituency. Days before he became the home minister in November 2009, Gupta had led a protest against the demolition of an illegal temple in Char Imli.

A petition was filed in the Indore bench of the MP High Court praying that Muslims be allowed to offer peaceful namaz on Friday at Bhojshala. The court is likely to take up the matter for hearing on Thursday.

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