Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court has reserved its order on a writ petition challenging the recent demolition of the Gareeb Nawaz Mosque in Uttar Pradesh's Barbanki District after hearing arguments of both sides.
The petition was filed by The Sunni Waqf Board and the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) through Advocate Syed Aftab Ahmed and Advocate Saud Rais. Quoting Senior Advocate Jaideep Mathur, who represented the Sunni Waqf Board on Tuesday, IANS reported that the court had indicated about seeking an explanation from the government on the issue.
The Masjid was demolished on May 17 by the district administration in Barabanki, claiming it to be an "illegal structure", therefore, the petitioners sought directions to reconstruct and restore the Mosque. The mosque in question was situated in Bani Kada village, also known locally as the Gareeb Nawaz Masjid.
The Board had issued a statement calling the action illegal and a violation of a directive issued by the Allahabad High Court. The district administration, however, insisted that they had proceeded legally in the matter.
The petition stated that the mosque was built in the British era and was registered with the Board in 1968. It also referred to an order passed by the High Court on April 24, staying orders of eviction, dispossession or demolition till May 31.
The Petitioners also said that the Mosque demolition proceedings by the local authorities had been done in a blatantly depraved and malicious manner out of complete animosity and ill will in an extremely hurried manner.
The pleas also state that the demolition was in flagrant violation of the order passed by the High Court wherein the State Government, Municipal Authorities and other Local Bodies and agencies of the State Government were directed to be slow in taking action of demolition and eviction of persons till May 31, 2021.
The petitions averred that the Uttar Pradesh Government is trying to converting the nature of the site of the demolished Masjid by erecting some new structure thereon and in case the Petitioners are not heard urgently, they will suffer an irreparable loss and injury.
UP Sunni Waqf Board also said that as the property in question is Masjid which is registered under it, no proceedings could have been initiated without the issuance of notice to it.
According to the petitioners, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Ram Sanehi Ghat, Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh went ahead with the demolition of the Mosque even after getting the information that the Masjid was a duly registered Waqf under the provisions of the Waqf Act, 1995.
A contempt petition has already been moved before the Allahabad High Court against the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Ram Sanehi Ghat, Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh along with other local authorities in connection with the demolition of Gareeb Nawaz Mosque (Barabanki).
In related news, the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow Bench) last week stayed the arrest of Gareeb Nawaz Masjid's Committee members against whom an FIR has been filed accusing them of forging Mosque's documents.
The FIR was registered against the President of the Committee, Mushtaq Ali, Vice-President Waqeel Ahmad, Secretary Mohamad Aneesh, and Dastageer, Afzaal Mohammad Naseem, along with Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board Inspector Mohammad Taha, and thus, they moved the High Court for relief.
The Bench of Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi and Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava directed that until a police report is filed, the petitioners shall not be subjected to any coercive measure.