News Brief

18th Century Mosque Minaret In Ayodhya Faces Demolition For Road Widening, Muslim Group Files Petition In HC

Yathansh Joshi

Jul 21, 2023, 10:06 AM | Updated 10:07 AM IST

Allahabad High Court.
Allahabad High Court.

The Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department (PWD) is initiating demolition proceedings against a minaret of an 18th century Shia community mosque in Ayodhya.

This action is being taken because the minaret obstructs the widening of a major six-lane road in the temple town.

According to government officials, the mosque's minaret, known as Masjid Khajoor Wali, is encroaching upon approximately 3 meters of the proposed road widening project called Ram Path. This road connects the Shahadatganj area on the Lucknow-Ayodhya highway with Naya Ghat in Ayodhya city.

The mosque authorities have been given a deadline to construct a beam that would allow the mosque to remain intact before the minaret is removed.

In response to the demolition notices, the mosque committee has filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court. The court has already begun hearing the case, with the first hearing taking place on March 3.

During this hearing, the court requested replies from the Shia Waqf Board, Ayodhya District Magistrate, and the PWD. The next date of hearing has been set for April 21.

Advocate Intezar Hussain, who is part of the mosque committee's legal team, confirmed that all parties involved have submitted their replies to the court. The petition emphasizes the historical significance of the mosque as a symbol for the Shia community.

The committee has requested the court to intervene and prevent the demolition of the minaret. Due to time constraints, the case was not heard after March 3, but the committee plans to request a new hearing date soon.

According to the caretaker, Parvez Hussain, the administration has repeatedly insisted on the removal of a minaret that obstructs the Ram Path during a survey. About a year ago, they informed the mosque committee that the minaret would have to be taken down.

The mosque committee officials reveal that Nawab Mehdi Hasan Khan constructed the structure in 1750. Despite writing to the top authorities in December of the previous year, they received no response.

Hussain added that members of the Shia community offer namaz at the mosque five times a day.

While some shops in the complex were already removed and compensation was accepted, Hussain emphasized that the mosque holds historical significance for the Shia community, and they do not want any part of it to be demolished.

In a letter sent to the Ayodhya Divisional Commissioner in December of the previous year, the mosque committee expressed their concern about the potential demolition of the minaret. They suggested that the government-owned land to the north of the mosque could be utilized for road widening, thereby saving the minaret from destruction.

Ali Zaidi, the chairperson of the UP Shia Waqf Board, confirmed that the mosque is registered under the Board's jurisdiction. Zaidi acknowledged that this issue has been ongoing for some time and mentioned that the mosque committee has taken the matter to court.

Additionally, discussions have been held with the district administration to address the situation.

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