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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Prayagraj: HC orders illegal mosque, mazar to be removed from Chandrashekhar Azad Park

Allahabad HC (High Court) passed an order calling for the removal of illegal mosque and mazar (Islamic grave) constructed inside the iconic Amar Shaheed Chandrashekhar Azad Park in Prayagraj. The court was hearing the petition filed by Jitender Singh.

HC wants all encroachments cleared from the park.

The HC order asking the state government to remove all encroachments within three days (October 7) was passed on Tuesday (October 5). Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice Piyush Agarwal opined that all encroachments in the historic park had come up after 1975.

The bench said “We want the park free of all encroachments”. The Prayagraj district administration has also been directed by the HC bench to submit a compliance report by October 8.

The petition moved by Singh through senior Advocate Hari Shankar Jain submitted that artifical graves have been illegally constructed in the park by members of the Muslim community who are attempting convert the structure into a mosque. The petition also states that by doing so, they (Muslim community members) want to convert the park into a graveyard and mosque.

Petition by Jitender Singh

The petition by Jitender Singh reads:

The members of Muslim community in their usual manner of capturing the land for their religious purposes are trying to construct a mosque within the park area and some artificial mazaars (grave yards) have been created at the instance of fundamentalists and the patronage of Waqf Board.

That it is relevant to mention that no part of the park has ever been used as Waqf property either for the purposes of buying the dead, dargaah or mazar and no mosque was ever constructed or had been in existence in any manner. Even today no mosque is in existence. A building illegally raised is being tried to be converted into a mosque.

Singh has also submitted photographic evidence of the illegal structures. He also pointed out that apart from violating the UP Parks Playgrounds and Open Spaces Act, 1975, the encroached structures are a threat to a place of historical importance. The petitioner has also highlighted that Azad Park has been mentioned as a place of historical importance in the Allahabad Master Plan, 1967-1991.

Singh also cited previous court orders ordering demolition of illegal structures within the park sprawling over 133 acres. He cited the petition of Arun Kumar in which the court had passed appropriate order.

Chandrashekhar Azad Park (earlier known as Alfred Park) is of great significance in Bharat’s history as it is here that the 24-year-old hutatma Chandrashekhar Azad breathed his last on February 27, 1931 after being involved in a gun battle with the British.

(Featured Image Source: Prayagraj district administration website)

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