In Jangpura, Noor Mosque stood on DDA property illegally and the court had ordered its demolition. But, the Delhi governement refused to act and Jangpura Residents’ Welfare Association appealed to the High Court for the compliance of its order. The court in 2006 issued contempt notice to the DDA.
To avoid the complications of contempt notice by the court, the mosque was demolished on Wednesday, 13th January 2010, by the DDA authorities. Muslims started protesting under the leadership of Shashi Imam of Jama Masjid supported by many politicians. In the cycle of violence that had begun on January 12, 23 vehicles were vandalised and six men, including four policemen, were injured. The traffic on the busy Ashram Chowk-Subz Burz stretch was halted for more than 21 hours.
Protestors insisted offering Namaz at the site 5 times a day and each time, the tension was building up. Sheila DIkshit, Chief Minister of Delhi, met Shahi Imam and assured that the site would be purchased from DDA and mosque will be restored. The urban development minister, Jaipal Reddy conveyed the message through Delhi chief minister.
A temporary structure – a tin roof held up with bamboos – had been erected by the protesting mob on Friday. There were over 300 people at the site even in the night with the local MLA Tarwinder Singh Marwah among them. Policemen were instructed not to obstruct the mob.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Thursday filed a compliance report on the demolition of an illegal mosque built on public land in Jangpura B-Block in South Delhi. In the compliance report filed by one of its officials, the DDA submitted that it had not violated the demolition order. However, if any act of omission or commission on its part was construed an infraction of the judgment, the DDA tendered an unqualified apology and prayed forgiveness, the report said. The DDA urged the Court to dismiss the contempt petition in view of the demolition of the illegal mosque.
The Delhi Wakf Board filed a petition seeking modification of the demolition order. The Board in its petition said that before a mosque was built on the site, it was a burial ground for Muslims. It said that the land belonged to it and hence the DDA should have approached it before demolishing the mosque. However, the petition was withdrawn when the Bench said that if something was found contrary to facts, the Court would impose a penalty of Rs.1 lakh on the Board.
Political leaders from many political parties rushed to oppose demolition and supported restoration of the Mosque on the same site. Chief minister Sheila Dikshit was the first to visit the Masjid where she met the Shahi Imam, Syed Ahmed Bukhari. Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) MLA Shoaib Iqbal also addressed a gathering of over 10,000 people. “Mosques are the identity of Muslims. By demolishing them, the government is trying to oppress the community. We will fight against it.” said Yadav said. LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan called up the Imam to offer his support. At the site of the demolished mosque, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s MLA from Okhla, Asif Mohammad Khan, brought in thousands of people and threatened to start construction of the mosque. The CM’s son and East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit also visited the area. Firoz Bakht Ahmed, a community worker, lamented that despite the issue of the mosque having been amicably settled, as evident in the words of Sandeep Dikshit, there was a tug-of-war between the Shahi Imam and the Okhla MLA for credit.
Jangpura incidents dilute the execution of the order of the Supreme Court to evacuate all illegal structures across the country. Muslim groups in other parts of the country follow the same tactic to ensure that mosques are not demolished. Governments and officials act only to avoid contempt petitions against them. Hindu groups are expected to imitate their Muslim counterparts in supporting illegal temples.