Hours after the Allahabad High Court Tuesday directed the district administration and ASI to immediately open at the Bada and Chhota Imambaras, cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad said he respects court’s orders “but locks will stay” and protest by Shia community members outside the two monuments will continue.
The two Imambaras have remained shut since June 5 when protesters led by Jawwad, demanding sacking of Shia Central Board of Waqfs chairman Sayed Wasim Rizvi, had locked their gates.
A vacation bench of justices Arun Tandon and Anil Kumar, hearing a petition moved by one Masarrat Hussain, Tuesday directed Lucknow District Magistrate and Archaeological Survey of India to immediately open the two Imambaras. The bench also directed the district administration to ensure proper security at the two monuments.
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During the hearing, ASI’s counsel S B Pandey had told court that the locks should be opened in view of proper repairing and maintenance of the Imambaras. On behalf of the state government, Additional Advocate General Bulbul Godiyal submitted that the government was trying to open the Imambaras.
The court provided time to the respondents for filing their responses and listed the matter for further hearing in the third week of July.
However, Jawwad said, “Court was misled. Imambaras are not public place, they are a religious place. We have no objection to tourists who respect its sanctity”.
He also announced that any forcible move by administration to open the locks will be resisted with lakhs of youths ready to court arrest. “If they open it using force, we will resort to court arrest and even rail roko agitation and perform matam whole night on our roof tops,” he said.
Jawwad added that earlier, despite several court orders for demolition of Awadh Point, a building owned by another cleric Yasoob Abbas, it was not touched citing law and order issue. “Just because he Abbas is close to administration, it was not done,” he said.
Jawwad also warned that lakhs of people will now be called to Lucknow to protest against the ruling Samajwadi Party government.
Earier in the day, BSP’s national general secretary and Leader of Opposition in upper house, Naseemuddin Siddiqui had met Jawwad at latter’s residence. Siddiqui was accompanied by BSP leader Intezar Abedi Bobby. Later, Jawwad told newsmen that Siddiqui had extended help to their agitation.
“We apprised him that a person who has six FIRs registered against him has been appointed as chairman of waqf board. Imambaras are being treated as a place of enjoyment,” Jawwad said.
Jawwad had launched his protest for removing Rizvi from the chairmanship of Shia Central Board of Waqfs following which Shia women locked Chhota Imambara on June 4 and Bada Imambara a day later. Jawwad also courted arrest on June 15.