New Delhi: Thousands
of Muslims offered Friday prayers at the site of a mosque in south
Delhi that was demolished by the authorities for being built on
public land, as protests were held at three places in the capital,
including the walled city, against the demolition.
Around 1,500 people, including Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam
of Jama Masjid, offered Friday prayers at the site of the Noor
Masjid in Jangpura and on the road outside the police station
there amidst tight security. The people were initially not allowed
to offer prayers at the site of demolished mosque.
About 2,000 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF),
Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Delhi Police kept guard at Jangpura
to avoid any untoward incident.
On Wednesday morning, the DDA demolished the mosque, triggering
unrest with thousands of people gathering daily to raise slogans
and the security authorities blockading the entire main road.
"We have asked the government to give the land to the Wakf board.
Anyone demolishing another's house is always sad. Then, this is a
religious structure," said Bukhari, as the assembled gathering
nodded their heads.
Bukhari said he had held meetings with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila
Dikshit and Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, and both
had supported rebuilding of the mosque. "But, I don't trust the
government, and that's why I am here," Bukhari.
After the prayers, some 40-50 people attempted to rebuild the
boundary wall, by placing bricks, but without any cement.
Some of those gathered placed a bedsheet on the ground, asking for
donations. Within a few minutes, currency notes and coins
blanketed the piece of cloth.
Earlier, Bukhari had raised this issue at the Friday prayers at
Delhi's biggest mosque, Jama Masjid, after which the crowd had
spilled onto the crowded Daryaganj road.
For over two hours in the afternoon, Netaji Subhash Marg in
central Delhi was blocked as people raised slogans against the
demolition. Stones were also pelted at parked cars, but the
situation was brought under control, with senior area police
officers stationed at the spot.
The traffic police had to issue advisories about the blockade of
traffic at Nizamuddin and Daryaganj.
A protest march was also held at Seelampur in east Delhi. The
people marched to the office of the district police chief,
chanting slogans against the demolition of the mosque.
Meanwhile, the DDA filed a compliance report before the Delhi High
Court stating that it had recovered 350 square metres of its land
after demolition of the mosque.
The Delhi Wakf Board had also approached a division bench of the
Delhi High Court, stating that the land belonged to them.
But, they withdrew the petition after they were castigated by the
court for not filing the petition as per proper legal procedures.
A DWB official told IANS that a fresh petition may be filed next