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Tell legislator to remove structure near Jama Masjid: court urged

Tuesday August 07, 2012 05:59:43 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Delhi Police Tuesday moved the high court seeking direction to legislator Shoaib Iqbal to remove the structure built by him in Subhash Park, near the Jama Masjid, where the ruins of a 17th century mosque were unearthed.

Showing its helplessness to provide force to the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi to remove the structure, as directed by the court, police said it is the month of Ramzan and if their application is not allowed, it might result in disturbance of peace.

"Appropriate orders/direction be issued to Shoiab Iqbal, MLA (legislator) to remove unauthorised construction/obstruction/nuisance at the site of Subhash Park under the supervision of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)," said Delhi Police in their application while seeking modification of the court's earlier order and extension of time for its compliance.

Police also noted that the Independence Day celebrations are also approaching, for which security arrangements are to be made and police deployed in the area.

"Additionally, Baba Ramdev and his team have also booked the Ramlila ground from July 25 to Aug 30 for his 'Anshan' (fast) which will start on Aug 9," the police application said.

"The applicant is bound to manage all the above throughout the month of August. Each of the aforementioned events would need massive deployment of police force for maintaining peace, law and order. As such, special efforts would have to be made to ensure peace and tranquillity in the area," the plea added.

Contending that Section 20A (2) of the Ancient Monuments and Archaelogical Sites and Remains Act, 1958, barred any person, other than archaeological Officer, from carrying out construction in any prohibited area, Delhi Police submitted that this and the court's finding, specifically noting that Iqbal resorted to construction, made it apparent that he was in breach of the provisions.

"Discussions were held with some respectable and knowledgeable persons in this area and they had suggested that since the action of demolition of unauthorised construction might disturb communal harmony, at this time being the holy month of Ramzan, the same should be postponed," the petition added.

Additional Solicitor General (ASJ) Sidhartha Luthra, appearing for Delhi Police, urged the court to hear the matter on Aug 9 but the court posted the matter for Aug 17.

A special bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Rajiv Shakdher earlier asked the ASI to implement its order dated July 19 in which it directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to remove the unauthorised construction within 15 days.

People in areas close to Jama Masjid started the construction of a mosque at the Subhash Park after a building's remains were discovered in early July during excavation for Delhi Metro work.

The area people claimed that the remains were those of the 17th century Mughal-era Akbarabadi mosque.

According to the ASI, Subhash Park fell within the restricted zone of two protected heritage sites -- Sunehri Masjid and Red Fort -- and any construction in the area required permission from the National Monuments Authority.

It also said that construction at the excavated site was illegal under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.




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