Jahangirpuri: Mandir escapes demolition drive even as Masjid’s front gate destroyed; Muslims unhappy but calm
People present on site said that authorities were requested by locals to halt ‘demolition drive’ after coming across news on TV that SC had issued stay order, but they refused to pay any heed to them
Days after communal clashes broke out in Jahangirpuri area in north-west Delhi on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti, BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on Wednesday demolished the front gate and wall of a mosque located in C-Block even as a mandir located just 100 meters away from it in the same row escaped the wrath of bulldozers deployed to carry out the so-called anti-encroachment demolition drive.
It led many to wonder why the mandir was not touched by the authorities who took no time to demolish alleged illegal constructions, which included commercial as well as residential structures belonging to both the communities.
The administration claimed that by the time its bulldozers could reach the mandir, the officials present on the ground received a Supreme Court order to halt the demolition drive.
However, many who do not subscribe to this explanation given by officials of the NDMC and Delhi Police which was duly peddled by several television channels.
Some Muslims living in the area felt that the front of the masjid, had including its main gate and boundary wall, was “deliberately” demolished by the authorities even though the apex court had, meanwhile, issued a stay order against the drive.
People present on the site said that the authorities were requested by the locals to halt the drive, but they refused to listen to them.
“When we saw news on TV that SC had asked the administration to stop the drive, we rushed toward the bulldozers, which were surrounded by the police, but they refused to listen to us,” said Aanshu, whose shop, attached to the boundary wall of the mosque, was demolished by the authorities.
“We pleaded with folded hands before them, but they paid no heed to us,” he said.
Aanshu’s neighbor, who owned a grocery shop near the mosque which too was demolished, was virtually in tears.
He tried to maintain his cool while talking to National Herald, but he was clearly in great anguish. “I have no complaint against any temple, but we should be given equal treatment,” he said.
“Allah does not discriminate on the basis of the religion…we all are one, but by demolishing the gate of the mosque, we have been shown our place in this country,” said the Muslim man, who seemed to in his fifties, who was trying to clear the rubble at the site.
His nephew said, “We are hardworking people. We will again construct the gate and the boundary wall, but the trust and bonding shared between the two communities stands broken now and it can neither be repaired nor reconstructed.”
Just behind the mosque, in Gali number 1, which is known as “Meat wali gali” in the area, all the shutters were down and a sense of foreboding seemed to be permeating the calmness which the locals were trying to maintain.
A few youths were sitting under the shadow of balconies in the lane, where houses represent the true spirit and diversity of India.
“This is the meat shop that I own but the upper floor of my house is owned by a Hindu…There are several houses where both Hindus and Muslims live on different floors,” said Imran, pointing out towards his meat shop.
His friend, who did not wish to be named, said Hindus and Muslims lived together in the lane. “Both Diwali and Eid are celebrated by people of both communities, but things changed suddenly after Hanuman Jayanti,” he said.
When asked if local Hindus were part of the procession which led to the clashes on April 16, Imran’s friend said that the plan to take it out in front of the mosque was not decided by the locals but by “outsiders”.
Imran said that most of the people living in C, D and G block of the area were first-generation immigrants from Bihar and West Bengal.
He and his friends said they believed that the law enforcement agencies were guilty of indulging in discrimination on the basis of religious identity.
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