An anti-encroachment drive was carried out in accordance with the orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court for restoration of the 400-year-old Alawardi Masjid, which is an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected monument.
Officials said that the locals had constructed structures around the monument recently, a violation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, which prohibits any construction within a 100 metre radius of the protected monument.
Officials from the district administration and the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) reached the site at 10 am on Tuesday. The team was accompanied by hundreds of policemen fearing resistance by the villagers who had in the past indulged in violence during similar exercises.
The structure that was demolished was being projected by the locals as a Madrassa (Islamic seminary). But when the officials verified, they found it was a recently constructed structure. Sources said that the villagers were given eviction notices before the demolition drive.
“We demolished the structures as per the orders of the high court,” deputy commissioner TL Satyaprakash said over the phone. He said as per the court orders, people evacuated will also be rehabilitated.
He added that the drive was carried out smoothly.
The issue dates back to 1984-85 when the land was reportedly handed over by wakf board to the present inhabitants. The district administration, however, maintained that the land was already transferred to ASI — the heritage watchdog — in 2003.