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Demarcate area of Qanati mosque, dargah: HC to DDA

Court was hearing a PIL filed by a BK Dutt colony resident, seeking protection in tense situations.

delhi Updated: Feb 02, 2012 00:47 IST

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notices to DDA and the land and development officer (L&DO) asking them to submit an affidavit specifying the area of the Qanati mosque and the dargah in BK Dutt colony in Jor Bagh.

Qanati Masjid, a wall mosque from the Mughal era, has been a bone of contention between residents of the area and followers of the dargah Shah-e-Mardana for several years.

About a fortnight ago, the colony had witnessed tension when devotees clashed with the police over opening a gate of the shrine.

Hearing a PIL filed by a colony resident, seeking their safety and protection in such tense situations, a bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri said, “Let the land owning agency, be it DDA or the L&DO, specify which part of the mosque premises is their land after demarcation as per the master plan.”

Claiming that the residents were living in fear but police was not able to protect them, the PIL alleged that some outsiders had encroached on the public land in the name of performing religious works. They had also resorted to violence against the residents.

The issue pertains to 2010 and 2011 when attempts were made to alter the heritage structure of Qanati Masjid, allegedly for religious purpose.

Being a listed heritage structure, no alterations can be made to this structure without the clearance of the Heritage Conservation Committee.

On the residents’ claim about violent protest by dargah followers, labelled as outsiders, the high court said: “Everyone has a right to peaceful demonstration.

Police just have to ensure no untoward incident happens. People in the area have a right to peaceful life.”

The colony has at times witnessed very violent situations in the past few years, following a dispute over land ownership and alterations to heritage structures under the dargah management, Anjuman-e-Haideri, a body under Shia Wakf Board.

First Published: Feb 02, 2012 00:45 IST