Uttar Pradesh: Mosque demolished in Barabanki in name of encroachment, in violation on High Court order

The Barabanki district administration has demolished apparently an old mosque called Masjid Garib Nawaz Al Maroof at Ram Sanehi Ghat saying it was an unauthorized structure built on government land

Representative image
Representative image

NH Correspondent/Lucknow

The Barabanki district administration on Monday demolished a mosque called Masjid Garib Nawaz Al Maroof at Ram Sanehi Ghat saying it was an unauthorized structure built on government land.

Maulana Aiyaz Ahmad, City President of Samajwadi Party and a resident of Barabanki said that it was an old Mosque and had been there since the pre Independence era. It is not a new structure and nor was it constructed on government land.

“The demolition of structures in the name of encroachment is not acceptable. I had myself offered namaz there,” he told this reporter.

On Monday, a demolition squad along with police and district officials reached the area and demolished the mosque. “The action was taken as per court order. There was no mosque. It was an illegal structure where anti-social elements were staying,” Dr Adarsh Singh, the Barabanki district magistrate, said.

“What the administration did was as per the law and as per the court order,” he added.

A local cleric Maulana Abdul Mustafa said, upon the arrival of the demolition squad at the site, the police officials started threatening the people who had come to oppose the demolition. "We stood there and saw the over 100 years old mosque being demolished," he said and added that the debris of the mosque was then thrown into the river.

The local administration says that it had issued a show cause notice to the mosque committee on March 15 asking it to explain how the building’s location was chosen citing an intention to demolish it on the grounds and said that there were illegal structures on the government land.

The mosque committee sent a reply to the administration saying that the High Court had ordered that no demolition or eviction should be carried out until May 31. They also furnished electricity bills to show that this structure has stood there since 1959.

“That year we got the electric connection and the bill proved our point. Then how can the administration say that the Mosque is built on government land,” the cleric said adding that the mosque was also not obstructing the traffic flow.

Chairman, Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board Zafur Ahmad Faruqi said that the administration's action was in violation of the High Court order. “The Board will move the High Court against this arbitrary action of the Barabanki administration,” he said.

The district administration claims that the action was taken as per the directive of the SDM Court of Ram Saneh Ghat on April 3, 2021 in which the court has admitted that said structure was illegal because no one from the Masjid Garib Nawaz Al Maroof Committee contested the charges leveled by the administration.

“In its order the court said that police should get the encroachment removed and we complied with the order,” the DM said.

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