New Delhi Mosque Faces Demolition as Caretaker Withdraws HC Petition

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The court grants a one-month grace period to the petitioner to vacate Faizyab Masjid and Madrasa premises.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — The Delhi High Court has granted temporary protection to the Faizyab Mosque and Madrasa in the national capital’s Sarai Kale Khan area, preventing its demolition until September 12, 2024. This comes after an unexpected legal development where the mosque’s caretaker, Deen Mohammed, withdrew his petition and agreed to vacate the premises.

On May 12, Justice Amit Sharma’s vacation bench granted one month to vacate the premises, dismissing the petitions after Deen Mohammed, through his counsel Advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, committed to leave the site within the given time. “Mr. Deen Mohammad, the caretaker and authorised representative of the petitioner, is present in court and identified by the learned counsel. He submits that the premises shall be vacated within a period of one month from today, and the petitioner or any other person claiming through it shall not make any further endeavour to stall the drive undertaken by respondent Nos. 1 and 2,” stated Justice Sharma in his ruling.

The mosque’s land was donated by Deen Mohammed’s father in 1972, with the mosque completed in the early 1980s. Deen Mohammed became the mutawalli, or caretaker, of the mosque and its properties by inheritance. The initial petition, filed by Deen Mohammed through Advocate Fuzail Ayubi, led Justice Sachin Datta to order the DDA to submit a status report on the property, providing temporary protection to the mosque.

The withdrawal of the petition has puzzled many in the community and legal circles. Inamurrahman, Assistant Secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), who has been closely following the case, expressed his concerns: “The abrupt withdrawal of the petition, which had initially secured the court’s protection, raises serious concerns over the matter. The mosque’s legal team had presented compelling evidence of their legal status as a waqf property, but the sudden reversal is very shocking.”

A prominent community member echoed these sentiments, questioning the impartiality of the process: “The mosque’s legal team had ample evidence in its initial petition about the legality of the mosque and madrasa, It is surprising that the petition was withdrawn.” He also raised concerns about the potential conflict of interest with the same official overseeing both the Delhi Religious Committee and the Delhi Waqf Board.

The controversy began in March-April when local police officials informed the mosque’s administrators about impending demolition plans. Petitioner Deen Mohammed approached the court, citing the mosque’s establishment in 1972 and its registration as a waqf property in 1989. He provided evidence including land records and no-objection certificates from the Waqf Board for electricity connections, arguing that the property was not an encroachment on public land.

Despite the initial judicial protection, the future of the Faizyab Mosque and Madrasa is now uncertain. With the court granting a one-month grace period, the community and legal experts are anxiously awaiting further developments, hoping for a resolution that respects religious rights and upholds justice.

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