Hyderabad: Former Minister and ex-Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir on Saturday urged the All India Muslim Personal Law Board to take up the issue of the demolition of two mosques in the Secretariat.
“The demolition of two mosques in the Secretariat is no different from the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. We had contested a legal battle for several decades as we wanted Babri Masjid to be reconstructed at the same place where it existed till December 6, 1992. In the case of Secretariat mosques, there is no dispute over the ownership of the Masjid land. Further, this issue is not a communal issue as the KCR Government has hurt the sentiments of both the communities by demolishing two mosques and a temple. Therefore, I request the Board to take up the issue of Masjid-e-Hashmi and Masjid-e-Dafatir Mohammedia in the Secretariat on an immediate basis,” Shabbir Ali told AIMPLB Chairman Moulana Rabey Hasan Nadvi in an open letter today.
Shabbir Ali said that the illegal demolition of two mosques in the Secretariat premises on the orders of the Chief Minister not only concerns the entire Muslim community in India, but it poses a threat to the very survival of secularism in our country.
“The Telangana Government, headed by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, has illegally demolished two old mosques, along with other structures in the Secretariat complex. Both the mosques quite old and five-time prayers were being offered in them till two-three days before they were secretly demolished by the TRS Government. As the then Cabinet Minister I had the privilege of laying the foundation stone for the reconstruction and renovation of both the mosques. The foundation stone for the Masjid-e-Hashmi near D-Block in the Secretariat was laid by (Late) Moulana Abdullah Qureshi Sahab, the then Imam of Mecca Masjid, and myself on April 28, 2005. This mosque was renovated at a cost of Rs. 10 lakh,” he informed.
He further informed that another mosque near C-Block, Masjid-e-Dafatir Mohammadia, was part of Saifabad Palace, which was constructed on 25 acres of land by Sixth Nizam Mir Mehboob Ali Pasha during 1888 AD and it was later used as Dewan (Administrative Office). The foundation for re-construction of this mosque was laid on December 31, 2008, by the (Late) Moulana Mohammed Hameeduddin Aquil Hussami Sahab and me. Its construction began on May 8, 2009 and it was inaugurated on September 9 by Mufti Khaleef Ahmed, Ameer-e-Jamia Nizamia.
“CM KCR wants to construct a new Secretariat as per his Vaasthu and therefore, he ordered the demolition of the entire Secretariat and he illegally included these two mosques and also a temple. The demolition was carried out in a highly secret manner on July 8 and no media or even photography was allowed. Even the high rise buildings around the Secretariat were covered so as to prevent people from taking pictures or videos of demolished structures,” he said.
Shabbir Ali said after the Congress party and other groups raised the issued and condemned the demolition of places of worship, the Chief Minister issued vague a statement apologising for the damage caused to the places of worship. CM claimed that the damage was caused as debris of other structures that were being demolished fell on the mosques. However, the State Government has filed an affidavit in the Telangana High Court two days ago confirming that the mosques have been razed to the ground. The Chief Minister has given an assurance that a new mosque would be constructed in the new Secretariat. But he did not specify the place where the mosque will be constructed, he said.
“This is an issue of grave concern and needs your immediate attention. Can we allow any government to demolish mosques at their will? Can we agree to shift the mosque to some other place to facilitate the construction of some other structure? Can we trust a Chief Minister who is first demolishing the mosques and then giving an assurance of their reconstruction?” he asked.
Shabbir Ali pointed out that the KCR Government had demolished another heritage mosque, Ek Khana Masjid, located in Amberpet area of Hyderabad, in May 2019, to facilitate road expansion. Although an assurance was given that the mosque will be reconstructed at the same place, but the promise was not honoured, he said. “Since it is our belief that a Masjid remains a Masjid till Qiyamah, we cannot surrender our Masjids to KCR Government and take some alternate site. If this is permitted now, then it will become a precedent for all the governments in the country to demolish the existing mosques on one pretext or the other,” he feared.
Asking the AIMPLB to take up the issue at its level, he alleged that many leaders of Congress party and other organisations tried to lodge an FIR against the demolitions. But the Telangana Police is not registering FIRs on those complaints. “This issue is too serious and needs your urgent attention. I hope you will act upon this issue on an immediate basis,” he urged Moulana Rabey Hasan Nadvi.
He also gave a detailed briefing on the issue to AIMPLB General Secretary Moulana Mohammed Wali Rahmani over the telephone. Moulana Wali Rahmani assured that the AIMPLB would study the issue and take suitable action to ensure the reconstruction of the demolished mosques at their original sites.