Monuments Under ASI Not Safe, Only 2 Encroachments Removed, Reveals RTI

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Muslim devotees offer Eid prayers amongst the ruins of the Feroz Shah Kotla fort and mosque in New Delhi on July 29, 2104. — AFP/Getty Images

Caravan News

NEW DELHI — It has been brought to notice that historical monuments and buildings are no longer safe and only two illegal occupations have been removed under the supervision of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). This upsetting information has been uncovered by the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) through an RTI.

JIH has been exerting continuous pressure on the circle officers of the ASI for many years to protect mosques and monuments and remove illegal structures erected on its land or the area having legal protection.

JIH Assistant Secretary, Intizar Naeem, who recently met the Deputy Director of the Delhi Circle of ASI, pointed out the miserable condition of the mosques and monuments under the supervision of the ASI. He said that ASI admitted to the Jamaat of their own accord that in Haus Khas Complex, one of the most important areas of New Delhi being under their supervision, has around 27 illegal structures constructed on its premises.

However, according to Naeem, the ASI has been unable to undertake any action and remains a mute spectator to these illegal encroachments.

“The situation in all the 116 mosques, temples and monuments across the country under the ASI supervision is very dire, with the exception of a single circle having the Taj Mahal. It falls under the Protected and Regulated Area, and has 178 illegal structures,” he explained.

Intizar Naeem further added that the ASI has earned a revenue of around Rs 22 Crores from the Taj Mahal in only one year (2014) and expressed his regret over the fact that the number of encroachments around the Taj is increasing day by day. JIH has also reportedly reminded the Agra Circle of the ASI on a number of occasions about these encroachments, but they only went so far as to issue customary notices to the concerned departments.

In fact, through the RTI, it has also come to light that the ASI has not even issued a reminder to the concerned departments for taking any decisive action.

“What is surprising is that neither the ASI nor the government is bothered to look after the mosques under its supervision. Yet they aren’t even ready to hand them over to the Muslim community so that prayers (namaz) could be carried out there and subsequently be protected with the help of proper government machinery”, Naeem said.

Naeem looks after the national and community affairs and has filed several RTIs in the last few years related to social, national and community-based issues seeking information from departments in the Center, States as well as certain universities.

Jamaat also hopes that  State Waqf Boards, Central Waqf Council, National Minority Commission, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Muslim MLAs and MPs, Muslim organizations and leaders will pay due attention to this critical problem and compel the government in order to take necessary actions.

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