Protest in Delhi’s Dwarka against upcoming Haj house
A large group of residents from Dwarka and nearby urban villages on Friday staged a protest against the construction of a proposed Haj house in Dwarka’s Sector 22 and said such a building may lead to a “law-and-order problem” in their area, even as several other residents took to social media to claim that the protest was being spearheaded by right-wing groups.
Protest leader Ajit Swami, who is also the president of the All Dwarka Residents Federation (ADRF), claimed otherwise and said it was the federation, which has over 300 villages near Dawrka as members, that led the protests.
“We have written to lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal, who is also chairperson of the DDA (Delhi Development Authority), asking him to cancel land allotment made for the Haj House. There will be a law-and-order problem if the Haj house is constructed here,” said Swami.
The LG did not respond to requests for comment.
“The money for the construction could be used for another noble cause. There are no such houses/facilities for people of other faiths who go pilgrimages,” he said, and added that protests will continue till the land allotment is cancelled.
It is to be noted that Delhi does not have a Haj house unlike other states, even though the national capital is the largest embarkation point for the pilgrimage in the country. Nearly 15,000-20,000 Muslims from Delhi, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, western Uttar Pradesh and Chandigarh leave for Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims, from Delhi every year and they usually stay in camps set up at Ramlila Maidan and Dargah Faiz Illahi before flying out.
According to the details of the construction, the proposed Haj house will be able to accommodate at least 350 pilgrims at one time. An area of around 5,000 sqm has been allotted for the project, show DDA records.
Aam Aadmi Party Sleemapur MLA Abdul Rehman, a nominated member of the Delhi State Haj Committee, said the protests were “politically motivated”.
“ Why should anyone have a problem if a few people come together for a short stay before embarking on a pilgrimage? The land where the house in being built does not belong to any private person, not has it been usurped or encroached by anyone. Our country is a land of many religions. People want to live peacefully. Some are out to divide the country on religious lines and we request the government to act against such motivated protests.”