The Gujarat High Court has directed local authorities in Dahod district to maintain status quo on the land where the local municipality razed a decades-old Nagina mosque on May 20.
The directive came on a petition filed by the Nagina Mosque Trust which submitted that the mosque and its adjacent structures were demolished without any notice.
The Trust submitted that the mosque and its compound, where some shops were built and were given on rent, all belonged to Wakf property and could not be demolished by the civic body.
The petitioner alleged that the mosque was unlawfully demolished in violation of the Gujarat Municipalities Act and the Waqf Act, citing records that the mosque was not an encroachment but it stood there since 1926, and the Trust rented out adjacent shops to raise funds.
Smart city project
As per the details shared in the petition, the local municipal authorities initiated the demolition of shops on May 15 as part of an anti-encroachment drive for the Dahod Smart City project but they proceeded to demolish Trust-owned shops without prior notice.
Subsequently, a meeting was held to resolve the issue but the officials refused to acknowledge the property documents of the shops and the mosque.
The authorities then directed the trust to remove religious items, including books from the mosque by May 19, after Friday prayers, before the entire structure was razed.
The municipal authorities cited that the encroachment was required to be removed as part of the Dahod Smart City project to widen the roads.
The court has directed to maintain status quo and issued a notice returnable by June 8.