Even as the Gyanvapi mosque dispute occupies the centre stage of politics in the country, two lawyers — father and son — are busy drumming up legal support for other places that are being claimed to be Hindu shrines.
Lawyer Hari Shankar Jain, 68, and now his son Vishnu Shankar Jain, 36, are now an integral part of all legal battles for ‘Hindu shrines’ — from Gyanvapi to Idgah in Mathura and the Qutub Minar in Delhi.
Together, they have filed around 110 cases across various courts, seeking worship rights for Hindus or representing Hindu deities.
Hari Shankar Jain had represented the Hindu Mahasabha in the decades-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute that was decided in favour of Hindus by the Supreme Court on November 9, 2019.
He is now spearheading the legal battle in the Gyanvapi mosque case.
His son, Vishnu Shankar Jain, is also at the forefront of all these high-profile legal battles.
“Injustice meted out to the Hindus angers me. I will continue to fight legal battles till Hindus get back their places of worship,” said Hari Shankar Jain, who began his legal career from Lucknow and thereafter relocated to New Delhi to practice in the Supreme Court.
His son Vishnu Shankar Jain has been practicing law since 2010.
Jain, when asked how he manages to contest so many cases at one time, said, “I draft the petition and build a fool-proof case. Thereafter, I select local petitioners to make the case stronger.”
Hari Shankar Jain drafted six applications that were filed in Varanasi district court, including the one in which his son is representing five Hindu women in the Shringar Gauri case.
In addition to this, he has filed five more petitions, either claiming to be a friend of Hindu deities or seeking a Hindu right to worship them.
The father and son are also contesting the Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah case in Mathura and the Qutub Minar dispute in Delhi.
The Jains are confident of victory as they claim that “facts are in the favour of Hindus.”
Talking about the Places of Worship Act, 1991, Jain said, “The Places of Worship Act (1991) is not applicable in almost all the cases I am contesting, including the Gyanvapi dispute in Varanasi and the Shahi Eidgah in Mathura.
The Hindu community had access to all these shrines on August 15, 1947 and was regularly carrying out puja and other rituals.”
In Mathura, he has filed a petition on behalf of Lord Krishna, seeking removal of the Shahi Eidgah adjacent to the Shri Krishna temple complex in Mathura and transfer of 13.37-acre land to the deity.
“I have filed another lawsuit in the district court of Indore, seeking religious rights for Hindus to perform puja at the Saraswati temple in Bhojshala (in Madhya Pradesh) throughout the year,” he said.
The father-son duo has pledged to work tirelessly till Hindus get back all their cultural heritage and places of worship back.
Hari Shankar Jain, and fellow lawyer Ranjana Agnihotri, also made headlines when they challenged the then Samajwadi Party government’s decision in Allahabad high court in July 2013 to withdraw cases against terrorists.