CM meets Shahi Imam to soothe frayed tempers,says Muslims can pray at masjid site
Two days since violence broke out at Nizamuddin and Jangpura,the situation remained tense as religious and political leaders held Friday prayers at the same spot where a mosque was razed by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Wednesday.
Rajya Sabha MP Ram Vilas Paswan,while addressing the crowd outside the Hazrat Nizamuddin Police Station at about 4.30 pm,said: It is unpardonable that the DDA razed a mosque on the pretext of carrying out a High Court order. I am pleased that Hindus and Muslims are together in this fight. There is no doubt that the land belongs to the Wakf Board,and the mosque should be rebuilt right here. I am going to speak to the Lieutenant-Governor and the Police Commissioner,and I assure you that we are all united in this battle.
Earlier in the day,Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna met Home Minister P Chidambaram to apprise him of the situation. Around 9.30 am,Dikshit also met the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid,Syed Ahmed Bukhari,and asked him to help bring the situation under control. She also assured him that members of the Muslim community would be allowed to pray at the site of the demolished mosque.
The day witnessed anxious moments at Nizamuddin and Jangpura as a large crowd awaited the arrival of Bukhari,who was reportedly stopped by the police because they felt his presence could result in further tension. The Imam reached the spot around 2.30 pm and initiated the Friday prayers at the razed mosque. Protesters,stationed at the main Mathura Road between Neela Gumbad and Ashram,broke through four layers of police barricades and followed Bukhari to the mosque site to offer prayers. The Shahi Imam has been mobilising Muslims across the city since Wednesday to ensure that Friday prayers are offered at the razed site itself.
The Delhi Gazette clearly states that the land on which the mosque stood belongs to the Wakf Board. Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit have assured that proof would be presented in court,and the land given back to the Wakf Board. Otherwise,the government will buy the land and give it to the Wakf Board for the mosque to be rebuilt, Bukhari told Newsline.
Stating that it was the constitutional right of Muslims to pray at the mosque,he accused the Congress government of committing atrocities against the minority community. I mobilised the crowds by informing them about their constitutional rights and the atrocities committed by the Congress government over the last 60 years. We are happy that the government has lived up to its promise of allowing us to offer jumma namaz at the site. We are waiting for the government to fulfill its second promise of rebuilding the mosque here. There will be more unrest if justice is not done, Bukhari said.
Okhla MLA Asif Mohammed said the community will not let up unless a written assurance is given by the Delhi government that the land will be allotted to Muslims.
Buildup to a controversy
March-April 2006: Jangpura RWA files a civil writ petition,alleging illegal encroachment in a section of the area,against the Delhi Development Authority (DDA),Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD),and the Delhi government,in the Delhi High Court.
May 2006: High Court issues showcause notices to the three entities.
November 2006: DDA demolishes illegal hutments in the area,leaving the Noor Masjid and Valmiki Temple intact,and forwards the case to the Delhi governments special Religious Committee for further directions.
January 2007: The Division Bench of the High Court directs the MCD and DDA to take appropriate steps for development of the area.
February 2007: Counsel for the respondents tell the court that they would hold a meeting and submit a consolidated proposal with regard to development of the area.
July 2008: Jangpura RWA files another petition,asking the court to direct the respondents to remove all illegal structures at the site,including the mosque. Court directs respondents to take action as per the petition.
June 2009: Religious Committee recommends removal of the masjid and asks DDA to consider re-allotting land to the Valmiki Temple.
August 2009-September 2010: DDA claims it made six attempts during this period to demolish the Noor Masjid,but did not receive adequate cooperation from the Delhi Police.
October 2010: Jangpura RWA files a contempt petition against the DDA,MCD and L-G,asking why the demolition hasnt been carried out so far despite the courts directive.
January 12,2011: DDA demolishes the masjid. Violence breaks out.
January 14,2011: DDA asks court to drop contempt proceedings against it.