Bulldozers in Indian mosque in violation of High Court orders

A local administration in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has launched a highly provocative operation against a Muslim place of worship since the demolition of the Babri Masjid by a mob of Hindu nationalist rioters. A mosque has been bulldozed. In 1992

According to documents in the committee’s possession, the mosque, known as Garib Nawaz, has been in existence for at least six decades since the British rule in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh.

On Monday, police and security forces moved into the area and cleared the area, then brought in bulldozers and demolished mosque buildings. The wreckage was then dumped into a river, according to photos and local accounts. Wherever the mosque stands, security services have been set up to prevent anyone from coming within a mile of it.

The state government of Uttar Pradesh is controlled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also rules at the national level.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is a hardline Hindu nationalist, known for his anti-Muslim rhetoric. He spoke with Islamophobia, called Muslims terrorists, and passed a law openly discriminating against Muslims.

A local imam, Maulana Abdul Mustafa, who is part of the mosque committee, said the mosque was “hundreds of years old” and that “thousands of people come to offer five times a day.” Pray [prayer]”

“All the Muslims were scared, so when a mosque was being demolished, no one approached the mosque or dared to protest. Dozens of people are still fleeing their homes and hiding in other areas for fear of the police.

Barabanki District Magistrate Adarsh ​​Singh denied the existence of the mosque. “I don’t know any mosque,” he said. “I know there was an illegal structure. The Uttar Pradesh High Court declared it illegal. That is why the regional senior district magistrate took action. I will say nothing more.

Scene after the demolition of the mosque
Scene after the demolition of the mosque. Photo: Provided

The demolition was in violation of a high court order issued on April 24, which said that buildings in the state should be protected from any evictions or demolitions by May 31 “after an increase in epidemics”.

The local administration has opposed the mosque. On March 15, the mosque committee was issued a notice questioning the existence of an “unofficial mosque”, in which it asked for proof of permission obtained for the land and cited a court decision where Legal religious structures can be demolished if they create obstacles.

The mosque committee says it sent a detailed response, including documents showing that the building had an electrical connection since 1959 and that no mosque structure was blocking the road, but local The administration did not respond to a request for comment.

On March 18, the mosque committee went to the Allahabad High Court citing concerns that the mosque had suffered “fiery demolition”. The High Court ruled that the local administration was only looking for documents instead of threatening to demolish the mosque.

In the coming days, local Muslims say the administration began setting up a permanent structure to block access to the mosque.

On March 19, local Muslims were barred from entering the mosque for Friday prayers, leading to tensions and protests in the area. More than 35 local Muslim protesters were arrested and jailed, where many are still being held, and police reports were lodged against the protesters.

In a judgment dated April 24, in view of the epidemic situation, the Allahabad High Court again ordered that “any eviction, demolition or demolition orders … will disappear by 31.05.21”.

In a press statement, Barabanki’s district administration called the collapsed structure a “residential complex” and said the April 2 court ruling proved “residential construction under discussion is illegal.” He made no mention of the mosque on the site, although its presence had been formally acknowledged earlier in a notice submitted to the mosque on March 15 and again on March 18 in a High Court petition.

Members of the mosque committee said they too had not been informed of any April 2 court ruling on the mosque. Despite a court order delaying the demolition until the end of May, the administration proceeded to demolish the structure of the mosque on Monday afternoon.

A statement from the chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, Zafar Ahmad Farooqi, said: “I strongly condemn the illegal and high-handed act by which they have demolished a 100-year-old mosque. ۔ “

Farooqi said the demolition was “against the law, abuse of power and in flagrant violation of the clear orders of the Hon’ble High Court dated 24.04.2020” and called for a high-level judicial inquiry.

The district where the mosque is located is adjacent to Ayodhya, where the Babri Masjid stood before its demolition in 1992. In a court ruling in 2019, the judges declared that the land was legally owned by Hindus instead of Muslims, and that there was a new Ram temple. Under construction on the site where the Babri Masjid once stood.

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