“Government should get the mosque reconstructed or get a court order to this effect”

People protesting against the demolition of the mosque at Nizamuddin here on Wednesday turned violent and damaged a bus and some vehicles after they were not allowed to offer prayers at the demolition site on Thursday.

While the area surrounding the mosque site was virtually turned into a fortress with Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Delhi Police personnel deployed in strength, the locals gathered outside the Hazrat Nizamuddin police station in the afternoon demanding permission to offer prayers at the demolition site.

“Though the main road was opened to traffic in the morning, a stretch between Neela Gumbad and Ashram Chowk was closed in the afternoon after people came out to protest. We were told by the local MLA that we would be allowed to offer prayers, but the police asked us to produce a copy of any such order,” said Khaleel Ahmed, a local resident.

Trouble erupted around 4 p.m. when some angry locals started marching towards Mathura Road to block traffic. They hurled stones at a bus, damaging its windowpanes, and some other vehicles. However, the police soon brought the situation under control and the protesters dispersed. “They again gathered outside the police station for a sit-in,” said Khaleel.

‘Wakf Board land'

Claiming that the mosque demolished by the Delhi Development Authority was located on Wakf Board land as shown in the Gazette, the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari, declared that all businesses in the Muslim-majority areas of the Capital would remain shut on Friday in protest against the demolition and to demand reconstruction of the mosque at the same site.

“The land [Khasra No.633] where the mosque was constructed belongs to the Wakf Board and it is there in the Gazette. It is the fault of the government that it did not apprise the court of this fact. The committee that gave clearance for its demolition is to be blamed. We want people to be allowed to offer namaz at the site five times a day and the government should get it reconstructed or get an order to this effect from the court by bringing before it the true facts about the land,” said the Shahi Imam.

He said people in large numbers would gather at the mosque site to offer Jumme-ki-Namaz on Friday afternoon. “We will proceed from the Jama Masjid around noon. People from different parts of Uttar Pradesh are also expected to join us,” he said.

Injured

Meanwhile, after the evening prayers on Thursday, a large number of people took out a protest march in the Walled City area.

Several people were injured on Wednesday afternoon when the police lathi-charged and tear-gassed residents protesting against demolition of the mosque in pursuance of a High Court order on a contempt petition filed by the Jangpura Residents' Welfare Association.

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