February 25, 2021 1:06:01 am
The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notices to the Delhi government, the central government and the police in a plea filed by the Delhi Waqf Board, seeking easing of restrictions at the premises of Nizamuddin Markaz.
The Markaz building has been under lock and key since March last year, when a case was registered in connection with a Tablighi Jamaat congregation there.
Justice Mukta Gupta asked the authorities to respond to the petition — filed through Waqf Board Chairman Amanatullah Khan — by March 5. The Centre, which was not made party to the case by the petitioner, also sought impleadment in the matter during the hearing.
Masjid Bangley Wali, Madarsa Kashif-ul-uloom and the attached hostel situated at Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin have been shut since March 2020, the plea states, adding that the general public is not allowed to enter and offer prayers at the mosque; students are not allowed to continue with their education at the Madrasa, and nobody is allowed to stay at the hostel meant for principal clerics and their immediate family members. Only one of the portions — the mosque — was used for the religious congregation, states the petition.
“The Delhi Waqf Board has learnt that the local police has prepared a list of only 5-6 persons of the locality who alone can enter the mosque for the purpose of prayers. The local police opens locks at the main entrance, allows them to enter at the time of prayers; after the prayers are over, those people come out and immediately thereafter the police lock the main entrance again,” the plea filed through advocate Wajeeh Shafiq reads.
The court was told the police have put locks on the entire premises ostensibly in connection with the FIR registered on March 31 last year, on the premise that Maulana Mohd Saad and the markaz management allegedly deliberately and negligently violated government directions, but no formal seal has been put on the premises. Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin was removed from the list of containment zones in September 2020, it adds.
“When things are gradually returning to normalcy, all the religious places are reopened, all Bazaars and large markets, shopping complexes are reopened, gymnasiums, clubs, schools are being reopened, physical lectures in colleges have resumed and the courts are slowly returning to physical mode of hearings, the aforesaid Waqf premises is lying under the police lock,” argues the petition
Contending that the registration of FIR does not warrant putting the entire property under lock and key, that too for an indefinite period, the Waqf Board has said, “it would be better that scaled map or digital sketch of its interiors are prepared in the presence of witnesses, videography and photography is done and the property be reopened as puting the property under lock for indefinite is not interfering with the statutory rights of petitioner… but the discontent is also growing amongst members of Muslime community at large”.
The Waqf Board in the plea also said that it has written to the authorities for reassessing the necessity of subjecting the entire premises as “out of bound” area, and has suggested that some sufficient security bonds can be taken from the Markaz management, if required, for the purposes of investigation.
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