Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday said she has instructed the Delhi Police, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and other officials to ensure that the peace of the city is not disturbed by the issue of Matia Mahal MLA Shoaib Iqbal going ahead with the construction of a new “mosque’ over the ruins of a structure which is claimed to be the ancient Akbarabadi Mosque.
Talking to The Hindu, Ms. Dikshit said she has taken the NDMC to task for allowing Mr. Iqbal and his supporters to go ahead with the construction on a plot which belonged to the civic body.
The Archaeological Survey of India would have taken two to three months for establishing the veracity of the claim that the ruins were indeed that of the Akbarabadi Mosque and thus the civic body should have ideally cordoned off and protected the area, she said.
The Chief Minister expressed concern at Mr. Iqbal going ahead with the construction of a new structure. “He is going on with it. But what he is doing is not correct; it is illegal as the land belongs to the civic body; and even technically I am told that you cannot put a mosque over an old mosque. A new mosque should always come up on clean and clear land.”
So, Ms. Dikshit insisted that the legislator was also not proving himself to be a good religious person. “I am told that he has little support in the matter as most people are not appreciating it.”
Pointing out that there is information that Mr. Iqbal has gone ahead and even placed a Holy Quran at the site, the Chief Minister said he no longer appears in a mood to listen to anyone. “From our side the Chief Secretary is coordinating with the Delhi Police and the civic body in the matter.”
Recalling how Mr. Iqbal had first raised the issue of the discovery of the ruins in the Delhi Assembly in the context of a Metro project in the area, Ms. Dikshit said we had then asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to look at it and they had made necessary changes. “But now he is making an issue where probably none exists. He wants to put his stamp of authority on the structure.”
With the holy month of Ramzan beginning on Saturday, the Chief Minister said she wanted to ensure that no one is able to ruin the peace of the city.