N Nagaraja Rao
It’s a victory of sorts for many Hindu organisations which fought tooth and nail against establishment of the Islamic University in Tirupati. Finally, Chittor District Collector K. Ramgopal instructed the revenue and police officials to demolish the unapproved floors of the building that houses the Heera International Islamic University at Thondavada village of Chandragiri Mandal.
The institute was in the eye of a storm from couple of months ago, when the Hindu organisations objected that the structure was coming up on tank ‘Poramboke’ land and on the land belonging to the now-dilapidated Thimmappa (Venkateswara) temple. Based on a report submitted by the Tirupati Divisional Panchayat Officer to the effect, Ramgopal gave the nod to the Panchayat Secretary, who is also the enforcing authority, for demolition of the floors constructed in violation of the norms. He also directed the SP (Tirupati Urban) to arrange security to revenue officials during the demolition.
Shaik Nowheera, president of the Madarasa-Niswan Isha-Atul-Islam-Urdu and the Arabic Development Society Trust, had sought permission from the Tirupati Urban Development Authority (TUDA) in 2010 for the construction of a G+1 structure. She, however, ended up constructing up to G+6 floors, inspite of the notices issued by the Panchayat secretary of Thondavada on February 25 and May 28 last year.
BJP spokesperson G Bhanuprakash Reddy appreciated the order and said that the pertinent issues raised by the party stood vindicated by the Collector’s order. He appealed to the authorities to take the issue to the logical end by ensuring demolition at the earliest.
To be fair, even local Muslims joined the protests against outsiders setting up the institute and feel insecure as the temple town is peaceful and many local Muslims too pray in many temples in the town and roughly 500 Muslims worship Lord Balaji daily who are settled in District of Chittor. A Protestor named Shamir Basha, a market contractor for over thirty years said, “We are living peacefully here. Local Hindus also participate in our festivals. We have not heard of this lady or her business group until she started constructing this college.
The local Muslims will not accept such an institution, which is shrouded in mystery. We do not want any controversy and I feel controversies may erupt when outsiders start coming and settling here. We are blessed by the Lord of Seven Hills and this beautiful town should not lose its peace because of outsiders.” For them, the temple is part of their life and heritage. They are afraid that Islamists from West Asian nations would try to enforce Shariah law in Tirupati and that could lead to serious social problems.
The lady in question Nowh-eera Shaikh who is putting up this Islamic university has no proper antecedents . In fact Assad Owaisi of the MIM, a sitting MP had filed a complaint against her in the year 2012. The complaint against the Managing Director of Nowheera Shaikh stated that she was cheating people on a large scale by inviting investments for her company. This case is now with the Enforcement Directorate. The state Crime branch is yet to investigate on the basis of the complaint.
BJP Spokesperson Bhanu Prakash demands a enquiry commission headed by a serving High Court judge to find out the authenticity of the Heera Group, antecedents of Ms. Nowheera Shaikh, group’s financial resources, fund sourcing for the construction of the college. The security of the shrine is more important as recently few Jehadis taking shelter just 30 kms from Tirupati , a town called Puttur in their confession to police have claimed to target the Lord of Sevan Hills during the annual Brahmotsavam festival. Many believe allowing this centre in whatever form shall become a safe sanctuary for Muslim terrorists. Secularism should not be the by word for setting up religious institutes endangering safety of temples and hurting religious sentiments of the majority.