After the Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government demolished an over 100-year-old Barabanki mosque under an anti-encroachment drive, the Sunni Waqf Board has been left furious as it labelled the move as “misuse of power”.
Alleging that the demolition took place without any prior intimation to them, the Barabanki mosque’s guardian and UP Sunni Central Waqf Board in its official statement said, “I strongly condemn the patently illegal and high-handed action of the Tehsil and district administration Ramsnehi Ghat particularly that of the sub-divisional magistrate for demolition of 100 years old mosque situated near the Tehsil compound, in the name of alleged removal of encroachment.”
The statement issued by Zufar Farooqui, chairman of Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, added, “This act is against law, misuse of power and in utter violation of the clear orders of high court passed on April 24, 2021. The board will immediately approach the high court demanding restoration of mosque, high level judicial enquiry and action against guilty officers.”
Defending the demolition, the district administration said, “In the Tehsil residential complex of Ramsnehi Ghat in front of the SDM’s residence, regarding a residential illegal structure, (a) chance was given to opposite party to present their version through a notice issued on March 15. After the notice was sent, the people living in the illegal structure fled… On March 18, the Tehsil administrative team took the questionable construction under its possession for the purpose of safety.”
It further added, “The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, during (the) hearing of writ petition (filed by the mosque), had established that the residential construction is illegal. On the basis of this, a case was lodged at SDM, Ramsnehi Ghat court… Following legal proceedings, (the) orders followed on May 17, 2021.”
Recently, Ayodhya title suit litigant Iqbal Ansari, expressed his unhappiness as he claimed that for the construction of the mosque a meagre amount of Rs 20 lakhs has been collected in a span of 16 months.
Questioning the competence of the Sunni Waqf Board appointed trust, Ansari raised serious questions on the competence of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) – the trust tasked with the construction of a mosque and other facilities on a 5-acre plot in Dhannipur, Ayodhya. For the uninitiated, the plot was allotted by the Supreme Court during the Ram Mandir verdict to serve as an alternate site for the mosque. The plot was allotted to the Sunni Waqf Board which, in turn, formed a trust to aid the construction of the mosque.
While the preparations for the construction of the mosque have begun post the verdict, Ansari alleged that the trust has managed to collect only Rs 20 lakhs as he feels that IICF is unable to win the people’s trust because of its private nature.
Iqbal Ansari alleged that the IICF’s Chief Trustee, Zufar Ahmad Farooqui, has formed a private trust directly controlled by himself. While demanding sweeping changes in the membership of the trust, Ansari claimed that Farooqui is incompetent and the members of the IICF are anti-social as he blamed their lack of social ability for the dismal collection of donations.