The management body of the Shah-e-Mardan dargah in Jor Bagh has alleged that Delhi Police is not allowing them to observe their annual Independence Day celebrations on the premises. Police, on the other hand, maintain they objected to the event as the location is currently under legal dispute.
Bahadur Abbas Naqvi, general secretary of the body Anjuman-e-Haideri, said they had written to police on August 8, saying they would be putting up a tent for the event, but were told they needed permission from the New Delhi Municipal Council. On August 10, they received the permission — the validity of which was subject to them obtaining an NoC from local or traffic police.
According to Naqvi, their manager Zahrul Hasan went to the Lodhi Colony police station that evening, only to be told that the event cannot happen at the dargah.
On August 11, police sent the Anjuman a letter, referring to a May 2018 Delhi High Court judgment, stating that they have been directed to maintain status quo on the site — including maintaining barricades outside it — and ensure law and order there. They recommended that the body seek permission from the High Court to celebrate there, or celebrate elsewhere.
The longstanding dispute is over demarcation of Waqf land around the dargah. It dates back to 2005, when the Anjuman had approached the High Court claiming that the land around the dargah belonged to the Waqf board and had been taken over by the government. The case is currently pending.
On Saturday, the body wrote to the Prime Minister alleging a “conspiracy to prevent Muslims from hoisting the Indian national flag and celebrating Independence Day by Delhi Police at the behest of communal forces”.
The body had not received police permission for the event last year as well, citing that “some anti-social elements may also join and disturb communal harmony”. However, the event took place after the chairman of the National Minority Commission wrote to the Police Commissioner asking that no hurdles be created.
According to Naqvi, the celebration begins on the night of August 14 with mushaira, and is continued on August 15 by televising the PM’s speech and hoisting the national flag.