Two days after a mosque in Gurgaon’s Sheetla Mata colony was sealed on the grounds that it is located within 300 metres of an IAF ammunition depot, Commissioner D Suresh claimed he had issued directions to de-seal it by Friday. By night, however, a statement was released stating that it will not be opened.
The decision to de-seal the mosque had been announced in the afternoon, following a meeting between members of the Muslim Ekta Manch, the Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch and the commissioner. “There is a provision in the law that if a structure is sealed by any authority, and people appeal against it, it can be de-sealed… I ordered the de-sealing,” Suresh had said.
But the statement issued at night read, “An appeal may be filed in the court of the commissioner, against the orders of the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation and the deputy commissioner. Until now, the commissioner has not received an appeal from any party, and so the commissioner has not issued orders to de-seal any property.”
A source from the district administration added, “Although a meeting had been held on the issue in the afternoon, only a discussion took place. No formal appeal was made.” The mosque was among 11 structures sealed.
Haji Shehzad Khan, chairman of the Muslim Ekta Manch, said, “People had told officials we had started reading namaz there a few weeks ago. We went with documents to prove otherwise, and requested the divisional commissioner to de-seal it.”
Following the meeting, the divisional commissioner met the deputy commissioner and other officials, and a decision was made to de-seal the structure — a move that left Hindu outfits in the area seething. The outfits had earlier protested against the use of a loudspeaker there.