Prohibitory orders were issued in the jurisdiction of four police stations in Porbandar on Tuesday after police used tear gas to prevent a mob from marching to a site in Udyognagar area where an “unauthorised” religious structure was demolished by the district administration.
The district administration demolished Muradsha Pir Dargah during a drive that started at 3 am on Monday, Altaf Rathod, administrator of Sunni Anjuman-E-Islam, an organisation entrusted with administration of local properties of Gujarat Wakf Board in Porbandar, told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
“The Porbandar mamlatdar gave us a notice at 8 pm on September 29, directing to remove the encroachment. We sought records of the dargah from Wakf Board. However, without giving us time to respond, the malatdar got the entire premises demolished, including the main structure standing on 250 square yard land and registered with Wakf Board,” said Harun Sati, a panel advocate for the Wakf Board, adding that the dargah was around 500 years old.
Porbandar District Collector AM Sharma refused to comment, saying he was attending a meeting of the Election Commission of India. “The situation is under control now,” he said.
Prohibitory orders were issued in the jurisdiction of Udyognagar and Kirtimandir police stations in Porbandar town and Kutiyana and Ranavav police stations in Kutiyana and Ranavav talukas of that district late Tuesday.
Citing a letter from the Porbandar SP, detailing protests against the “drive to remove illegal encroachment”, MK Joshi, additional district magistrate Porbandar, issued a notification, imposing Section 144 of the CrPC in four police station jurisdictions till October 10.
After they received records of the dargah from Wakf Board office in Gandhinagar, Rathod, Sati and other leaders went to the office of Porbandar District Collector on Tuesday to lodge their protest.
“The collector suggested that a few persons go to the site and offer chadar. But a mob gathered and tried to approach the site of the demolished dargah. Police asked them to stop but the mob didn’t budge, leading to clashes,” Faruk Surya, a local leader of the Congress said.
Nilesh Jajadiya, incharge deputy inspector general (DIG) of police of Junagadh range, said police had to use teargas shells to disperse the mob. “We asked the mob to disperse and not to approach the disputed site that was demolished after being deemed a threat to coastal and national security. However, the mob refused… Therefore, police lobbed three teargas shells,” Jajadiya told The Indian Express.
Jajadiya termed the dargah a “disputed” site. “While the local community leaders said that it was registered property and a legal structure therefore, the revenue authorities demolished it terming it illegal. In that light, it became a disputed site,” said the DIG.
Porbandar superintendent of police Ravi Mohan Saini told media persons that police resorted to mild lathicharge to disperse the mob and that 20 persons were rounded up from the place. Saini added that a process had been initiated to register an offence of rioting.
Udyognagar area falls in the jurisdiction of Porbandar-Chhaya joint municipality. Manan Chaturvedi, president of the municipality, said that the district administration carried out the drive and that the civic body had limited role in it. “I was out of station… municipality chief officer Manan Chaturvedi reported to me that the officers of the revenue department requisitioned our vehicles, including JCB machines and dumpers on Saturday morning for a demolition drive,” Karia said.
The revenue department had demolished around 12 structures in Gosa and Navabandar areas of Porbandar district Saturday.