A temple and a mosque, separated by two shops and a narrow road, have coexisted for over 30 years in Najafgarh’s furniture market. On Monday afternoon, however, the imam locked himself in the mosque’s premises as a handful of policemen took position outside.
The Takiya mosque is situated less than 200 metres from the Krishna temple. Local residents alleged that the mosque authorities tried to encroach upon a nearby plot, even demolishing portions of a wall on Friday. The mosque authorities denied the charges, maintaining that no construction outside the mosque premises had taken place. Meanwhile, at the disputed corner of the mosque, a makeshift religious shrine with two idols has been set up.
The police said the plot adjoining the masjid was government land. “Some people claimed the land belonged to them and placed the idols there,” a senior police officer said.
DCP (Southwest) R A Sanjeev said, “No case has been registered and there is no tension. The police as well as the sub-divisional magistrate held meetings with local residents and everything is normal. We have deployed police personnel to manage the kanwariyas’ procession and maintain law and order.”
“There has been no encroachment on our part… Local residents had a problem with a door on the side of the market. After objections were raised, we said that door will not be opened,” the imam said, partially opening the door.
“We have objections to the placing of idols right next to the mosque wall. We had agreed to their demands. What was the need for such action?” the imam said.“The mosque has been around for so many years. We have never raised objections. The mosque authorities are carrying out construction work for a year. Gradually, they started moving this side. On Friday, 10-12 inches of the wall were broken before we stopped them. A wall and a door have already been built behind the old one, which they wanted to demolish,” said Pawan, a 34-year-old shopowner and resident of the area.
Maintaining that such attempts had been made a couple of months ago, he said, “Since they were constructing a gate behind the boundary wall, we realised that stronger action was needed. So, we informed the owners and placed the idols there as a permanent solution to the problem.”
AAP MLA from Najafgarh, Kailash Gehlot, on the other hand, maintained that the situation was under control. “The police have deployed personnel there. It appears to be a case of property dispute. There are members in every community who tried to gain from such a situation. With police presence, the situation will be normal in the next couple of days.”
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