According to a Delhi High Court decision, the Land and Development Office, part of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, will inspect the New Delhi Jama Masjid, which is situated across from Parliament House, on Monday. Instructing “the occupant” of “the property” to “maintain preparedness” and “submit documents/maps to substantiate their claims” throughout the inspection was written on a sign that was affixed to the mosque’s wall on Friday evening.
On the basis of the recommendation of a two-member committee on denotified Waqf properties, the Ministry decided to assume control of 123 properties owned by the Delhi Waqf Board, including mosques, dargahs, and cemeteries. Amanatullah Khan, the board’s chairman, had received a letter from the Ministry alerting him of the choice.
“This is part of the ongoing survey of 123 places of worship where the government claims the Waqf Board has lost the right of possession,” stated Muhibullah Nadwi, the masjid’s imam, while bringing media members to the location during the physical examination. This mosque has a long history. It’s been around for at least 350 years. In actuality, a land survey was commissioned by the British in 1880. We have enough paperwork. The imam of the masjid, Muhibullah Nadwi, invited reporters to the location during the inspection, saying, “I do not see a threat to the mosque.”
It is an inspection rather than a survey. If so, what is the purpose of the survey? The mosque’s past is widely known. Simply misleading the court order, here. Mahmood Pracha, who was actively involved in opposing the recent initial demolition of a portion of Bengali Market Masjid-Madrasa, claimed that the Waqf Board is inattentive either by purpose or by necessity. Around three in the morning, they destroyed a section of the Mamu-Bhanja dargah in the vicinity of Jhandewalan. I believe the New Delhi Jama Masjid is vulnerable, regardless of what the imam of the mosque may claim,” he stated.
In addition to a large number of MPs during Parliament sessions, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and former vice president Hamid Ansari have said prayers at the New Delhi Jama Masjid. Additionally, foreign ambassadors favor it. Here is also where Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed’s grave is located. After a piece of the first floor ceiling collapsed, raising concerns about the mosque collapsing due to its advanced age, it underwent a significant renovation in 2014.
Advocate Masroor Siddiqui, who has been closely monitoring studies conducted on places of worship that have been accused of encroachment, disagrees with Mr. Nadwi’s optimism. “It’s noteworthy that the government is only paying attention to mosques and dargahs. Similar views could be seen at Tikona Park, close to the Oberoi Hotel, before the Mamu-Bhanja Dargah was razed. There, the mosque was saved, but nearby residents’ homes were destroyed. There have also been claims of encroachment at Sunehri Bagh Masjid. I believe that this study is the beginning step in moving these mosques, the man stated.
According to Mr. Siddiqui, the VVIP area of Lutyens’ Delhi includes the New Delhi Jama Masjid, Sunehri Bagh Masjid, Zabat Ganj mosque close to India Gate, and a small mosque at Krishi Bhawan. “There were concerns raised concerning these mosques when the Central Vista project began. There were worries that they would be relocated or destroyed. Then, Hardeep Puri, minister of housing and urban affairs, allayed these worries by declaring, “Not a single heritage building will be demolished.” These mosques appear to be being moved for other reasons now. For instance, it is claimed that the Sunehri Bagh mosque is obstructing road widening in this instance, according to Mr. Siddiqui.
In the past, the Delhi Waqf Board had asked the High Court to grant protection to six of its properties in the Central Vista neighborhood: the mosque at the Vice-President’s official residence, Masjid Krishi Bhawan, Sunehri Bagh Masjid close to Udyog Bhawan, Mazar Sunehri Bagh Road behind Motilal Nehru Road, and Zabta Ganj Masjid on Mansingh Road.
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