Congress bows before fanatics, ignores ASI opinion
Muslims illegally usurp Metro site, build mosque
Instead of taking action against the encroachers, the Congress government forced DMRC to realign Metro track and helped the fanatics grab prime location land of Netaji Subhas Park.
Congress appears to have learnt no lesson from the rout it faced in recent elections even after offering repeated sops to Muslims. Prior to assembly elections in Delhi, scheduled to be held next year, it again played a Muslim card. To woo Muslims it forced Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to realign the Metro track near Jama Masjid and helped some Muslim miscreants to build a mosque over the ruins of, as saints claimed, a Pandav era temple. The saints and Hindu organisations warned the Government to remove the illegal construction forthwith otherwise they will be compelled to come to the streets.
While digging for Metro Station at Netaji Subhas Park, the DMRC, as part of its third phase expansion from Mandi House to Kashmiri Gate, found a 10 metre wide stone wall a few feet under the ground. Soon after spreading this news some Muslim miscreants claimed that the wall is part of the historic Akbarabadi mosque built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan for his wife Akbarabadi Begum in 1650 and demolished by Britishers in 1857.
Some local Muslims, mobilised by local MLA Shoaib Iqbal, approached the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to stop construction of the Metro Station so that they could rebuild the said mosque. The Chief Minister found it a good opportunity to appease Muslims and she took no time to direct the DMRC to realign the Metro track. As the DMRC realigned its track and Station site the fanatics started constructing the mosque. By the time of writing this report on July 20 the large portion of the mosque had been built. The DMRC has now returned the land to MCD. Before the MCD could reclaim its land the miscreants built the mosque there. The MCD has banned all religious activities at the site.
The ‘discovery’ of the ‘Akbarabadi mosque’ for which the Metro track was realigned is said to be a well-planned conspiracy allegedly hatched by some miscreants led by local MLA Shoaib Iqbal, who along with Jama Masjid Shahi Imam has been raising this issue since the DMRC announced its third phase of Metro line. The MLA reportedly infiltrated his men in the digging work, who ‘discovered’ the buried stone wall.
Interestingly, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is still unclear whether the ruins belong to a mosque or are of any temple, the Congress government accepted the Muslims’ claim of being it a wall of the Akbarabadi mosque. It is under the government patronage that the Muslim miscreants started offering namaz there. Thousands of Muslims offered namaz there on July 13 (Friday) also under police protection. “Hundreds of people offered prayers here after 155 years. Delhi Police and the administration fully supported us,” claimed MLA Shoaib Iqbal.
Following political pressure the DMRC, however, realigned the Metro Station site, but it refused to stop construction work. “The location of the station box has already been changed once it was felt that it was too close to Sunehri Masjid. Since it is yet to be determined whether the ‘Akbarabadi’ mosque was located at the site in question, Delhi Metro will continue with construction work,” a spokesperson for the agency said. The new station is located 30-odd metre away from the previous location.
It is not for the first time that the DMRC had to realign the Metro route following pressure from Muslims. A few years ago, when the DMRC projected the alignment of the Central Secretariat-HUDA City Centre line going right through the Qutub Minar complex, the Muslims forced the DMRC to change the alignment. The DMRC was also forced to save a mosque near Air Force Headquarters.
In this case, even if one accepts that the relics belong to a historic mosque, the new construction at the site is illegal. The site should be handed over to ASI. The ASI has the power under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010 to take over any site which has confirmed evidences of historical remains. What pains people is that instead of abiding by the law the state government supported the fanatics.
There are reports that the real objective behind grabbing the land for the mosque is commercial. It is (Subhas Park) very prime location land valued at hundreds of crore rupees. Grabbing prime location land in the name of mosques is not new here. Sometime back a large government plot was grabbed by Muslims in Jangpura and a mosque in the name of Noor Masjid was built there overnight. When Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished the illegal structure, the Muslims tried to forcibly rebuild the mosque. The Chief Minister too helped them and the DDA had to provide 500 sq.yd alternate land. The state government then reportedly paid Rs 72 lakh for this mosque. Interestingly, this mosque is to be built at the site where there is no Muslim population. Perhaps, it is for the first time that a Government is spending public money for construction of a mosque. No religious place for any community has so far been built with public money. According to reports, there are about 5000 mosques in Delhi and majority of them are deserted, as nobody goes there for offering namaz.
There is one more interesting fact. Nobody can offer namaz or worship at the religious places which are under the control of Archaeological Department. There are 36 such mosques in Delhi where the Muslims forcibly started offering namaz. Some of such mosques include Safdarjang Madarsa mosque, Neeli Masjid of Hauz Khas, Jama Masjid of Ferozeshah Kotla, Kherul mosque in front of Purana Qila, etc. The then Superintendent of Delhi Archaeological Department admitted that namaz was offered forcibly in 36 mosques and he himself, dozens of times, sought police force to remove the encroachment from those mosques. But every time he did not get the police support following political interference. About one decade back it had been revealed in a survey conducted by Delhi Government that about 175 mosques, maqbaras, dargahs have been built illegally in Delhi. Over a dozen of those mosques have been built encroaching parks of the Walled City. But no government agency has time to clear the encroachment. Even there is huge encroachment at Jama Masjid and despite repeated orders of Delhi High Court the encroachment has not been cleared. A local resident, Suhel Khan, also approached the ASI against the encroachment but no action has been taken till date.
Delhi High Court on July 20 took strong exception to the forcible construction of the mosque at Subhas Park. Hearing a petition filed by advocates Vikas Gupta and Aman Lekhi, Chief Justice Shri AK Sikri, Justice Shri Rajiv Sakdhar and Justice Shri Sanjay Krishan Kaul directed the ASI to takeover the site and the MCD to cordon off and vacate the area with the help of Delhi Police. The Court directed the Delhi Police to ensure that the premises is vacated and no one can enter the area. According to IVHP media chief Vinod Bansal when the matter was brought to the notice of the Court at 11 am, Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahay Andlow immediately summoned the standing counsels of MCD, NDMC and Delhi Police and directed them to ensure that the entire area is cordoned off, nobody can enter the premises and action taken report be filed before them by senior officials of the agencies.
No record of any mosque
—Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra
Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Prof. Vijay Kumar Malhotra said there is no record of any mosque at Netaji Subhas Park and construction of a mosque there is totally illegal and amounts to vitiating communal harmony of the national capital. “The ASI maintains the record of all historical places and structures and even in its record there is no mention of any so-called mosque,” he said in a statement on July 19.
He said after 1880-90 and 1920 and after, no Gazetteer has mention about this so-called mosque. The Parliament enacted that except the Ram Mandir, status quo as on 1947 should be maintained in respect of all other religious structures. Even in 1947, there was no mosque at this site. “There are many Muslim structures which have been constructed by demolishing Hindu temples. If a mosque can be rebuilt on some fabricated statements, then all the Muslim structures should be demolished to reconstruct Hindu temples,” he said.
“The wall belongs to Pandav era temple”
Some senior saints of Delhi claimed that the wall discovered during the digging for Metro Station at Netaji Subhas Park belongs to the Pandav era temple and the construction of a mosque there is direct hit on the sentiments of Hindus. Expressing strong resentment over the illegal construction, general secretary of Delhi Sant Mahamandal Mahant Naval Kishore Das and Kalika Peethadhishwar Mahant Surendranath Avadhoot said building a mosque on the ruins of an ancient temple would not be tolerated at all. “Everybody knows that Delhi was the capital of Pandavas and there were temples here at every step,” they said.
The VHP and other Hindu organisations organised a protest march from Gauri Shankar Mandir, Chandani Chowk, to Netaji Subhas Park on July 20. They were arrested by police before reaching the site. They also presented a memorandum to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and copies of which were sent to President of India, Prime Minister, Home Minister, Lt Governor, ASI chief, Metro Rail chief and Delhi Police Commissioner requesting to take strict action against the encroachers.
The memorandum said if the ASI ascertains that the discovered structure is part of any historic mosque it should be handed over to the ASI and not to the encroachers. “Delhi has been a city of temples. If certain parts of it are excavated, the remains of hundreds of prominent temples will be found. In that case will the government allow Hindus to rebuild temples there? A plaque in the Qutub Minar premises clearly displays that ‘this mosque was built with the remains of 27 Hindu temples’. Will the CM of Delhi hand over that place to Hindus as Subhas Park has been handed over to fanatics on false claims,” the memorandum asked.