Railways Claim to Historic Delhi Mosques May Well Boomerang

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The mosques are among the 42 places of worship returned to the Muslim community under an agreement signed in 1943. Delhi Waqf Board claims that the original copy of the agreement is in its possession.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI —  The notices recently issued by Indian railways asking two historic mosques in the national capital, Bengali Market Masjid and Takiya Babber Shah, would well boomerang on itself. Besides the site of the two mosques, the railways itself will have to cede some of the Waqf lands it has encroached upon if a proper litigation process is followed.

The Northern Railway administration’s July 22 notices ask the two mosques that any encroachments be removed within 15 days.

The Delhi Waqf Board will move the high court against the notices.

Rail route specialists have cautioned that “on the off chance that the encroachments are not eliminated within the specified time period, they will make a fundamental move to recover their land.”

The railway administration has said that their land has been wrongfully infringed upon, and they are asking the concerned gatherings to intentionally eliminate any unapproved structures, sanctuaries, mosques, or sanctums built on their property. The railway administration will reclaim the encroached land in accordance with the Railway Act if the notice was not complied with. 

The Babar Shah Takiya Mosque is almost 400 years of age.

Respective committees managing the affairs of the mosques claim that these were 250 and 500 years old. 

Babar Shah Takiya Mosque committee claims that the inner room, courtyard, toilet and piazza etc. in total measuring 0.095 acres of land was transferred to Sunni Majlis Auqaf through an agreement dated 06.03.1945 by the Chief Commissioner to the Governor General in Council. 

This agreement is registered in Additional Book No. 1, Volume 95 on pages 49 to 51 with number 278. It also shows that a mosque with hujras (rooms) and a well and a bathhouse was already in existence at the date of the agreement.

The Waqf property under reference is the one duly notified in the Gazette of Delhi Administration dated 16.04.1970. The properties mentioned in the notice are part of 123 Waqf properties which were denotified by the Central Government on 05.03.2014 in favour of the Delhi Waqf Board.

The two mosques in question are among the 42 places of worship returned to the Muslim community under an agreement signed in 1943. Delhi Waqf Board claims that the original copy of the agreement having signatures of Maulana Syed Ahmad Bukhari, Sunni Majlis Auqaf Chairman Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan and the then British Commissioner is in its possession.

Hafiz Mahfooz Muhammad, section officer in Delhi Waqf Board, said the Masjid Takiya Babar Shah committee gave some of the mosque lands to the railways in 1973 to widen a bridge. All these documents are in possession of the Waqf Board, he said, media reported.

Similarly, the Bengali Market Mosque also acquiesced and gave some land to the Railways after the former approached the mosque committee. The Railways then contended that its Rs 3,500 crore project would go haywire if railway tracks are not straightened. All the relevant documents are with the Waqf Board, the official said.

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