The Rajasthan Government has refused to part with a piece of land at a prime location in the city which it had allotted to the Muslim community for construction of a school during its previous tenure in June 2003. When the allottees protested, it insisted on getting the District Magistrate's clearance which is not needed for any educational institution.

The State Government not only did turn down repeated requests to hand over the 1,000 square metre land adjacent to a mosque site in Mansarovar locality here, it also moved the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission last October challenging the lower court's decree to give possession to the allottees.

The distraught Mansarovar Muslim Welfare Society (MMWS) is mired in a protracted legal battle both for the school and the mosque. The Jaipur Collector has not given permission for construction of the mosque since September 2002, when its land was handed over to Muslims after allotment by the Rajasthan Housing Board with the due process.

Both the Jaipur Collector and the Housing Board have cited “threat to the law and order situation” as the solitary ground for not allowing construction of the mosque and not giving land for school. The Muslim residents of Mansarovar – stated to be the biggest residential colony in the State – have been running from pillar to post to make the State Government deliver what it had promised.

The MMWS paid Rs. 13.20 lakh each as well as ancillary expenses and lease money demanded by the Housing Board for the allotment of the two plots for mosque and school at Varun Path in 2002 and 2003 respectively. Seven years after the allotments were made on paper, the Muslims are still offering Namaaz under temporary sheds at the mosque site.

Rajasthan Housing Board Chairman Lalit Kothari contacted by The Hindu said the Board would take a final decision only after the disposal of the case by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. “When the matter is before a quasi-judicial body, we cannot do anything,” he added.

Strongly denouncing the Housing Board's role ever since it allotted the two plots, MMWS secretary Syed Saadat Ali said here on Tuesday that the Board had repeatedly contended in the District Consumer Forum and later in the State Consumer Commission that it would give possession of the school land only after the District Magistrate issues a no-objection certificate.

“This is a specious ground. There is no law requiring the DM's permission for opening a school.”

Mr. Ali regretted that the ruling Congress, which makes tall claims about promoting education among minorities, was not allowing a school to come up in a locality with a significant Muslim population.

“We envisaged the school as a modern educational institution to cater to the needs of children in a 10-km radius. But the State Government is least bothered.”