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‘Pak caller’ demands disputed Varanasi mosque be reopened

In April 2016, members of the Deobandi and Barelvi sects had clashed over control of the Badi Masjid in Konia area of Varanasi and with that, the revenue from renting out land to shops nearby.

Written by Sarah Hafeez | Varanasi |
March 17, 2018 8:36:40 am
varanasi moque, badi masjid konia, deobandi, barelvi, pakistan caller, indian express In April 2016, members of the Deobandi and Barelvi sects had clashed over control of the Badi Masjid in Konia area of Varanasi and with that, the revenue from renting out land to shops nearby. (Express Photo by Javed Raja/Image for representational purposes)

Varanasi city magistrate has said he had been receiving calls from someone allegedly from Pakistan demanding that a disputed mosque, sealed two years ago, be reopened. In April 2016, members of the Deobandi and Barelvi sects had clashed over control of the Badi Masjid in Konia area of the city and with that, the revenue from renting out land to shops nearby. Citing law and order concerns, the then city magistrate had sealed the mosque.

City Magistrate Dr Vishram said he had received 11 calls from an unknown number just days before a hearing in the case on March 14. “The caller said he is from Pakistan, and is a member of the ‘PML’. When I entered the number into a mobile number tracking app, it flashed “Adhimal Korangi” as the name. I have submitted all these in my report to the district magistrate and SSP,” said Vishram.

Vishram added that during the hearing on March 14, both parties involved in the dispute claimed to have nothing to do with the calls. The city magistrate said he was hearing final arguments in the case and the next hearing would be in the next few days.

“This is a property dispute case. There are 12 shops near the mosque which generate good revenue. The two sects were fighting for control. The previous city magistrate sealed the mosque and began hearing the matter. I have been hearing the case for the last 10 months since I became city magistrate. I will unseal it only after I am satisfied the dispute is resolved and there is no law and order issue,” said Vishram.

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SP (City) Dinesh Kumar Singh said no FIR had been registered so far since Vishram had not submitted a complaint. District Magistrate Yogeshwar Mishra was unavailable for comment. “This is not a personal matter where I would want an FIR registered. This is an official matter and the agencies should probe this. I have given them all necessary details,” said Vishram.

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