Fatehpuri Masjid’s Shahi Imam, Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, on Monday criticised the Archaeological Survey of India for not rebuilding the minarets in the 17 Century mosque and carrying out only “inconsequential work”.
Dr. Ahmed said he was annoyed with the ASI because it had “changed the wooden doors but the two minarets which had fallen years ago have still not been rebuilt”.
Pointing out that the mosque in Chandni Chowk comes under the Delhi Wakf Board, the Shahi Imam said the ASI started work on the mosque in October 2011 to commemorate the 150 birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The Swami Vivekananda Trust in Kolkata had allocated Rs. 6 crore for conservation and upkeep of the mosque.
“We only air our grievances before the Wakf Board. We did not ask the ASI to work on our premises. Though it has shown interest, we are unhappy with the fact that one burzi (small minaret) on the main gate facing Chandni Chowk and another minaret on the northern gate facing Khari Baoli have not been rebuilt. The basic structure of the Fatehpuri Masjid is weak. The main tomb needs repair. But workers assigned by the ASI are doing irrelevant work like relaying the floor. We have a number of rooms inside the mosque premises and the ASI has changed the wooden doors. It was an unnecessary exercise. ASI’s main priority should be to rebuild the minarets. Work is being done intermittently and there is a communication gap between us and the ASI,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Circle of ASI convened a meeting on Monday to discuss issues pertaining to repair and renovation of the mosque, which was constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s wife Fatehpuri Begum.
The Shahi Imam’s representative, Najeeb, participated in this meeting which was convened to delineate the responsibilities of each side. According to a senior ASI official, at the meeting on Monday, the ASI asked the representative of Fatehpuri Masjid to give a list of demands. “We will see how we can do the job and fulfil all the requirements within the limited budget and staff constraints we face,” said the official.