Irada Society seeks judicial probe into mosque sale deal

A fact-finding report on the recent demolition of a century-old rooftop mosque at Pur in Rajasthan has held “crony capitalism” and “mining greed” responsible for the incident. It demanded a judicial inquiry into the role of a corporate house, ruling Congress leaders and a section of the clergy in making the deal for sale of the place of worship.

Jindal Saw Limited, owned by the O.P. Jindal Group, bought the mosque from the Anjuman Committee of Pur for Rs. 65 lakh and demolished it on April 19 to make way for mining on the Tiranga hills where it was situated. The Anjuman had stated that it had obtained “guidance” for the act from the State Waqf Board.

Jaipur-based Irada Society, working for the socio-economic uplift of Muslims, released the report here on Thursday following its president Prof. Mohammed Hasan visit to Pur. It said the demolition was the end result of a “nexus of interests” for exploitation of precarious community resources.

Prof. Hasan said the lease was given ignoring the presence of religious and archaeological heritage and natural resources in the area.

The report had raised questions over the controversial fatwa issued by an Imam stating that the structure was a cluster of graves and the speed with which the correspondence was conducted between the Anjuman and the Waqf Board two days before the demolition. Interestingly, Waqf Board Chairman Liaqat Ali Khan was the first to rush to the Pur site after the mosque was razed.

Prof. Hasan said there was a “marked contrast” in the language of two letters written by Mr. Khan on the issue. In his letter dated April 18, he advised the Anjuman to act “in the interest of Waqf and in accordance with the Shariah provisions.” Later, he wrote to the Bhilwara Collector on April 23 asking him to reconstruct the mosque and take stringent action against the violators.

Muslim groups here have alleged that bribes over Rs. 65 lakhs had changed hands. The reconstruction of the mosque is in progress.

Prof. Hasan, who taught at the Harish Chandra Mathur State Institute of Public Administration here, is a member of the State Government's Rajiv Gandhi Social Security Mission.