Karnataka: Committee of Belagavi’s Sealed Mosque Awaits Court Order

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Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Committee members of Fathima mosque, which was sealed after Hindutva leaders’ campaign in Karnataka’s Belagavi city, are scared to talk on the issue and are awaiting Waqf tribunal’s ruling on their application regarding the conversion of a house into the mosque.

Ramzan, a local journalist, told Clarion India that members of the committee are reluctant to talk on the issue now and want some more time to set things right.

Dwelling on recent developments on sealing of the mosque, he said: “A Waqf official was served notice by the corporation commissioner a few days ago. Now, the Waqf official is being questioned on whose orders the mosque was locked. The Waqf Board’s chairman also is upset over the sealing of the mosque.”

However, it was not clear who sealed the mosque: the mosque committee, Waqf authorities, or the municipal officials. Times Now reported that the mosque was sealed by a municipal official while IANS claimed that Waqf authorities have done it. Ramzan said the sealing of the mosque remains a mystery.

According to him, the Waqf authorities issued a public notice two years ago on the house being used as a mosque. But this week, Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Muttalik, and former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Sanjay Patil, led a campaign against the mosque. At an event held by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the town, Muttalik targeted the mosque and allegedly made hate speeches threatening that a temple would be built on the site where the mosque currently stands.

Six days ago, talking to Belgaum Express about the mosque, a representative from the mosque committee said that the building was purchased in 2013 by a family. The building permission was taken in 2017. In 2018, the family gifted the property to the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Education Charitable And Welfare Society for the purpose of a mosque. Then, the society filed an application with the Waqf department. In 2019, the Waqf department issued a public notice to the Belagavi corporation and Belagavi tehsildar with regard to the mosque. On 30 December 2020, the Waqf authorities wrote a letter to the Belagavi Corporation Commissioner regarding the exemption for the Waqf properties. However, the commissioner has not responded to the letter as yet.  In March of 2020, the society filed a suit with the Waqf tribunal for prayer rights. The mosque committee is now waiting for an order from the tribunal.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Jarkiholi has asked the BJP to stop creating controversy around mosques and churches.

“We have seen how things turned hostile in Mangaluru, Udupi and Karwar. They will do it here and at other places as well. But, it won’t help them,” he said referring to the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the BJP.

“Churches and mosques have been in the country for thousands of years. Creating controversy now is not necessary. If there is a court order it is a different issue. It is wrong on the part of BJP leaders to demand that the mosque be vacated. However, they will continue it (the campaign) till the elections are over,” Satish Jarkiholi said.  

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