Shahi Imam leads prayers | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Shahi Imam leads prayers

delhi Updated: Jan 14, 2011 23:14 IST

In the last 80 hours Jangpura transformed from a residential-cum-commercial complex into a hotbed of political activity. Leaders of different political parties came to B-Block of the area where more than 1,000 people offered prayers on Friday.

Amid rising tension and following government intervention to defuse the situation, many residents had converged to offer prayers at the disputed spot. But not before political leaders like Mulayam Singh, Ram Vilas Paswan and Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, came to show their support against the "illegal" act of demolition by the authorities.

On Wednesday, the civic body demolished a mosque that was allegedly illegally built on DDA land. The Delhi High Court had given the demolition orders. Tempers and tension rose in the area after people were barred from entering the premises.

For more than 50 hours the police kept the area literally under lock and key. In the last two days the area witnessed incidents of stone pelting, teargas shelling and lathi charge in which 20 people, including six policemen, were injured.

But later, people were allowed to pray at the site after Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit met Union home minister P. Chidambaram and Union urban development minister S. Jaipal Reddy.

How did the leaders reach the mosque?

The police on their part barricaded almost all roads leading to Jangpura, starting from south Delhi to Old Delhi. The morning witnessed a lot of activity all over the city. For starters, the police did not allow the Shahi Imam to go to the spot.

“We tried to stop them in Old Delhi itself. But later when Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav passed with his cavalcade, Bukhari along with his supporters also managed to leave for the area," said a senior police officer. Many even climbed over the barricade set up near Darya Ganj police station.

Leaders show support

Everybody starting from Bukhari to president of the Lok Janshakti Party Ram Vilas Paswan expressed their support to a crowd of 1, 500 plus gathered at the spot.

"It is unpardonable that the DDA razed a mosque in the garb of High Court order. I am happy that Hindus and Muslims are together in this fight. There is no doubt the land belongs to Wakf board and the mosque would be rebuilt right here. I am going to speak to the Delhi lieutenant governor and the police commissioner, and I assure you we are all together in this battle," Paswan said.

Bukhari on his part assured people that the land would be duly bought and a mosque would be rebuilt. "Chidambaram and Reddy have stepped in. Now they are saying they will allow prayers at the site. Dikshit told us that the government will buy the land and give it to the Wakf Board to rebuild a mosque," he said.

Attacking Congress, he said, "This is a conspiracy by the Congress. It is not an issue between Hindus and Muslims. Our fight is against government and Congress. We will fight this injustice against Muslims."

Mulayam Speaks

Taking pot shots at the Congress, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav called the demolition of the religious structure "a sad incident".

"I will fight along with Muslims for justice. The Ranganath Misra Committee said this community is the most poor and deprived and Congress government is attacking them," he added.