Babri isn’t a one-off incident; several other mosques in India have been demolished too

By Rayhan Mirza

While the Babri Masjid demolition episode may be one of the most defining moments in the history of modern-day India, what is perhaps lesser known is that it isn’t alone as several mosques around India other than the Babri Masjid have been demolished too.

Outlook India reports that “in the months after Partition, some 50,000 mosques across present-day Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh were destroyed, burnt, or converted into temples and gurudwaras—homes, even.”

Though the partition era may have seen the destruction of mosques on a large scale, the mosques that are expounded here comprise only of the most prominent examples that were demolished in the post-Babri era.

Aapo Aap Mosque, Patiala District, Punjab

Like umpteen mosques across Punjab that continue to be illegally occupied as houses, the 200-year-old mosque of Aapo Aap was no different. The Punjab Wakf Board filed a case in the Civil Court of Nabha in 1968 and won against the illegal occupant Jatinder Kumar Bansal.

The illegal occupant then challenged the court order but lost again. However, years passed by and the Punjab Wakf board could not take control of the mosque.

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In 2004, after a bout of heavy rain, a wall of the mosque collapsed. The occupant of the mosque seized the opportunity and pulled it down in its entirety.

Jharsa Mosque, Gurgaon District, Haryana

The mosque located in the Jat dominated village of Jharsa has only one side wall remaining and that too was apparently left alone as it was adjoined to a neighbor’s house. The mosque was supposedly demolished in 1999. It was in disuse long before it was razed to the ground.

Malik Asin Mosque, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

The historic city of Ahmedabad founded by Ahmed Shah is India’s first World Heritage City. But in the riots of 2002, a part of its now celebrated heritage was demolished. The mosque of Malik Asin, built during the reign of Sultan Mahmud, was destroyed with military precision as reported in Communalism Combat. The demolition involved the use of a crane and bulldozers and was supposedly done in the presence of two state ministers as reported in the Guardian.

All in all some 500 mosques, shrines, and imambaras were demolished during the Gujarat Riots as per the Peoples Union for Human Rights (PUHR), a human rights organization.

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Khaja Mosque, Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh

Two years ago, the authorities of a thermal power station demolished a 400-year-old mosque called the Khaja Masjid in Kondapalli village near Vijaywada. It was supposedly demolished for the construction of the quarters for their employees. The mosque and the land belonging to it spread over an area of 80 cents.  Prior to this, it had already lost sizeable portions of its land due to encroachments.

Ek Khana Mosque, Hyderabad, Telangana

Hyderabad is peppered with historic mosques. One such mosque was the 200-year-old Ek Khana mosque that sat in a locality of Hyderabad called Amberpet. However, in the first week of May 2019, it was demolished as part of a GHMC road widening drive. The Telangana State Wakf Board claimed that the demolished mosque was a gazette notified Wakf property and that the GHMC town planning division ignored its claim to it.

Rayhan Mirza is an independent journalist. He also runs the popular Instagram page  @MosquesofIndia through which he documents historic Indian mosques.

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