A terror alert on Saturday evening led the police to a mazar inside a forest at the Bodyguard Lines, opposite President Estate, where a 70-year-old maulvi had been staying for the past 42 years.
The maulvi, Gazi Norool Hassan, who claims to be a preacher and a teacher to former president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, was detained on suspicion by the police and questioned for over seven hours.
He was later released after he furnished documents including his passport, ID card, voter card, a valid electricity connection and other address proofs to the police.
According to sources, on Saturday night, a patrolling van spotted Hassan scaling the wall of Bodyguard Lines, going inside the forest.
Unaware of a mazar inside the forest, which could be someone’s home, the personnel reported the matter to higher authorities. Hours later, a team of personnel reached Hassan’s door asking him to accompany them to the police station for questioning.
“I had retired to my room when the police knocked at my door. I was surprised. They asked me to come with them to the police station for questioning. They took me and kept me there for over seven hours. They kept asking me how I have a house inside the Bodyguard Lines and since when I have been living there. This has never happened to me before,” Hassan said.
Hassan said that not many people know of the mazar inside the forest and since there is no proper gate to enter, one has to climb the wall and get inside. Hassan has carved out a room inside the mazar where he has been staying for the past 42 years, preaching the Quran to his handful of followers.
According to sources, a terror alert was issued on Saturday and the PCR spotted Hassan climbing a wall near President Estate, which created panic. A search operation was then launched inside the forest and the police stumbled upon the mazar.
“They asked me to prove my purpose of stay here. I told them I stayed there and only after I showed them all proofs they let me go,” he said.
When contacted, police said that it was a part of the routine check and he was detained as he was around the VIP zone in Lutyens Delhi.
“The personnel patrolling the area were unaware of the mazar inside the forest and found Hassan’s movement suspicious when they saw him scaling the wall,” a police source said.