Muslim Houses Near Haji Malang Compound Demolished in Maharashtra 


Demolition of 85 alleged illegal structures near Haji Malang Dargah in Maharashtra sparks controversy

Team Clarion

MUMBAI –  Months after Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde raised concerns about the Haji Malang Dargah, a centuries-old structure in Kalyan, around 85 alleged illegal structures along the steps leading to the dargah were demolished by the administration, citing the need to protect people from landslides.

Hindutva groups have claimed that the site is a temple, adding to the controversy surrounding it.

The demolition drive, which occurred on Thursday morning, involved the Forest Department and the collector’s office, with police officers present to maintain order. According to officials, the decision was made to prevent potential landslides during the monsoon season, which could pose a significant risk to the thousands of pilgrims who visit the site.

“This action was necessary to ensure the safety of the pilgrims,” stated an official who requested anonymity. “The buildings were constructed on hill slopes without a solid surface, making the entire area prone to landslides. Recently, there was a landslide incident in the Malinggarh area where some people were injured.”

The Forest Department had issued notices to several houses on June 25, requiring them to submit details of land ownership within three days and remove encroachments within seven days. The Dargah Trust had requested more time, citing that Survey No. 134, under which the dargah falls, includes more than 300-400 buildings. However, the administration proceeded with the demolitions, focusing on commercial buildings, including the local Apsara Hotel.

Local residents and the Dargah Trust have expressed their frustration over the demolitions. “We understand the safety concerns, but the administration should have given us more time to respond and provide the necessary documents,” said a representative of the Dargah Trust. “Many families have been displaced without proper notice or alternatives.”

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