Will give Nizamuddin Markaz keys to Maulana Saad: police

The Delhi High Court was hearing a plea by the Delhi Waqf Board seeking a direction to reopen the Markaz

November 29, 2022 01:50 am | Updated 01:55 am IST - New Delhi

Police officials hand over the key of Nizamuddin Markaz to its committee members, in Delhi on Thursday.

Police officials hand over the key of Nizamuddin Markaz to its committee members, in Delhi on Thursday. | Photo Credit: PTI

The police on Monday told the Delhi High Court that it has no objection in handing over the keys of the Nizamuddin Markaz, the mosque where several people attending a religious congregation in March 2020 contracted COVID-19, to jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalwi.

Justice Jasmeet Singh, in his order, said, “The counsel for the respondent [Delhi Police] states that the respondent will have no objection in handing over keys to Maulana Saad on furnishing an indemnity bond in the form as required by them.”

The order came while hearing a plea by the Delhi Waqf Board seeking a direction to reopen the Markaz, which consists of the Banglewali Masjid, the Madarsa Kashif-ul-Uloom and a hostel. In May, the court had passed an interim order allowing certain areas of the Markaz to be reopened.

The counsel for Delhi Police contended that it has not been provided with documents as to who is the actual owner of Banglewali Masjid.

Earlier this month, the police had filed an application seeking a direction to the Delhi Waqf Board to produce documents related to the ownership of Banglewali Masjid.

They also said the keys can be handed over only to Mr. Saad, from whom they had taken possession of the Markaz, even as they claimed that he was absconding.

The counsel for the managing committee of the Markaz said Mr. Saad was very much on the Markaz premises and can appear before the police to take the keys.

Senior advocate Sanjoy Ghose, appearing for the Board, said the waqf property belongs to the Almighty and they are only the custodians of it. He added that the keys can be given to the Markaz managing committee.

Justice Singh said, “You [police] have taken the possession from some person. You return the possession to that person. I am not adjudicating an FIR for title of property here, that is not the issue before me. You find out what you have to do, but give the keys. You cannot keep it with you”.

After the Tablighi Jamaat event at the Nizamuddin centre during the first COVID-induced lockdown in 2020, several FIRs were registered under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act, Foreigners Act, and various provisions of the Indian Penal Code. The Markaz was sealed by authorities for the purpose of sanitisation and disinfection and the keys of the premises subsequently handed over to the police.

The Delhi Waqf Board has argued that the premises, which was locked by Delhi Police, should be opened as the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has now lifted all restrictions that were imposed on account of the pandemic.

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