Congress asks CM KCR to prove his claims on Secretariat mosques

Shabbir Ali writes open letter to CM KCR seeks clarification on two mosques reconstruction

Hyderabad, Dec.8 (Maxim News): Former Minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir today demanded Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao to furnish proof that the two mosques in the Secretariat premises – Masjid-e-Moatamadi and Masjid-e- Hashmi were being reconstructed at their original sites without any relocation .

Addressing a press conference in Gandhi Bhavan , Shabbir Ali released a letter to the Chief Minister which he has written seeking immediate clarification from the CM regarding the site for reconstruction of two demolished in the Secretariat premises. Speaking on the occasion, He said that there were serious doubts over the exact location of the mosques, whose foundation stone for the reconstruction was laid on 25th November. He said that if KCR fails to issue a clarification within 15 days, the Congress party would explore all legal and other democratic means to get justice. “We will lodge a criminal complaint against the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary for violating the provisions of Places of Worship Act, 1991 and other relevant laws,” he said.

“The demolition of two Secretariat mosques on the intervening night of 7th-8th July, 2020 was illegal. You reacted on the issue on 10th July, 2020, claiming that partial damage had occurred to the religious structures due to falling debris from other structures. While expressing regret, you had assured to carry out repairs on all the three places of worship soon. Your statement proved to be a blatant lie as three days later the authorities told the High Court that all three buildings had been razed to the ground,” Shabbir Ali said in his letter to CM KCR.

Shabbir said that the demolition of places of worship in the Secretariat was a crime and an open violation of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 which says that the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day. Further, the land where the mosques existed was a Wakf property and not owned by the State Government although they were located in the Secretariat premises. Therefore, their demolition amounted to trespass and encroachment, he said.

The Congress leader alleged that when leaders of the Congress party and other organisations lodged a complaint against the demolitions, the local police Saifabad Police Station refused to register a case. “It was the duty of the police to issue an FIR on receipt of a complaint. By refusing to do so, the local police violated the guidelines of the Supreme Court, allegedly due to pressure from the Chief Minister’s office,” he said.

He alleged that CM KCR gave a series of fake assurances on the dates to begin the reconstruction of two mosques at the same site and never honoured his own words.

“After a series of lies and false assurances for over 16 months, the foundation stone for the reconstruction of two mosques was finally laid on November 25, 2021. But we strongly suspect that both the mosques are being relocated. The entire battle for Babri Masjid was for its original location where it existed from its construction in 1528-29 until its illegal demolition in December 1992. No Masjid can be relocated for whatever be the reason,” he said.

Shabbir Ali said that the programme for laying the foundation stone for reconstruction of demolished mosques was held as a private ceremony in a highly secret manner. This led to suspicion of foul play. “Only a few selected leaders, both religious and political, were invited for the ceremony just a few hours before the programme. All the religious and social leaders who launched agitation seeking reconstruction of these mosques were placed under house arrest till the end of the programme,” he alleged while objecting to the State Govt treating a place of worship as a restricted area.

He recalled that he had addressed a letter on 27th June, 2019, more than a year before the demolition, expressing apprehension that the mosques might be demolished and requested the Chief Minister to protect those places of worship. However, he said his request was ignored and what he feared a year ago proved right.

Shabbir Ali said he was highly pained over the demolition of Secretariat mosques.

Congress senior leaders Md Afzaluddin, Uzma Shakir, Sameer Waliullah and Mateen Shareef were also present in the press conference. (Maxim News)

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