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Published in the 16-31 March 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Explain Jama Masjid's status, HC to ASI 

The Milli Gazette Online

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court asked the Archaeological Survey of India to explain why it did not declare Jama Masjid a protected monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958. The division bench asked ASI to file an affidavit detailing its response on the Masjid by April 27, the next date of hearing. The Bench which had earlier asked ASI and Delhi Waqf Board to work out modalities to declare it a protected monument, perused the minutes of the meeting and expressed dissatisfaction over the progress made in this regard. The counsel of Waqf Board, which had earlier favoured the idea, but later changed its stand, Najmi Waziri opposed the move to declare the Masjid as a protected monument, saying the board has to take care of the sentiments of the community as the ASI do not permit namaz inside protected monument. The ASI counsel Sanjay Jain submitted that it was ready to allow religious rites, rituals and practices in the mosque after signing a special MoU with the Waqf Board, the owner of the property. The court agreed to the suggestions and asked Waziri to get instructions from the Board on the ASI's suggestions and clarifiy what all rights it would like to be protected. The bench emphasised that Jama Masjid was a part of history and culture of Delhi which needed to be protected.

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