Special Reports

Jangpura Masjid: High Court did not order demolition

LG approved 'Religious Committee’s' recommendations which are not being divulged despite pending RTI Petition

New Delhi: On 12 November 2010, I happened to offer Friday namaz for the first time in Masjid Noor of Jangpura in New Delhi. Imam Saheb was telling the audience that there was threat of demolition of the masjid. After the namaz was over, I told my staff to stay back and collect details from Imam Saheb. Within the next few days we received copies of some related documents. A thorough study thereof revealed that there was something amiss. Delhi Government’s Home Deartment had written to the DDA that the Lt. Governor’s Religious Committee had recommended the demolition of the masjid. On 19 November, Zakat Foundation of India (ZFI) wrote to the Lt. Governor asking him under the RTI Act as to who are the members of the Religious Committee, names and addresses of the members who attended the relevant meeting held on 16 June 2009, copy of the minutes of the meeting and copy of the paper on which the Lt. Governor approved these minutes. On 25 Nov 2010. the LG Secretariat forwarded the ZFI’s RTI petition to the Commissioner-cum-Secretary of DDA asking him to provide the required information to ZFI. On 1st Dec 2010, DDA’s Sr RO (RTI) forwarded the ZFI’s petition to the DDA’s Deputy Director (NL)-I. The LG Secretariat also advised the ZFI to file a separate petition to Delhi Government’s Home Department as some of the queries were to be answered by them. On 2nd Dec ZFI sent another RTI petition to Delhi Government’s Home Department seeking the same information as sought earlier from the LG. No response has since been received either from DDA or from Delhi Home Department.  

Map showing Masjid Noor; 6/9 Jangpura - B, New Delhi #maps #masjids #mosques (Behind Saga Departmental Store, Near Hotel Rajdoot)

Map showing Masjid Noor; 6/9 Jangpura - B, New Delhi #maps #masjids #mosques (Behind Saga Departmental Store, Near Hotel Rajdoot)
Map showing Masjid Noor; 6/9 Jangpura - B, New Delhi #maps #masjids #mosques (Behind Saga Departmental Store, Near Hotel Rajdoot)

The matter had reached this stage while, using huge police force, DDA demolished the masjid on 12 January 2011. In the Gazette Notification of Delhi Government dated 25 September 1975, in Khasra no. 633 at entry no. 20 is mentioned the Muslim graveyard measuring 6 bigha 13 biswa. The notification is signed by the Secretary, Delhi Wakf Board which also has copy of Jamabandi of 1947-48 showing the land as Muslim graveyard. On 26 August, 2010, Delhi Wakf Board wrote to the Director (LM) of DDA that the impugned piece of land is duly notified in the Delhi Gazette of 1975 and is entered in the Jamabandi of 1947-48. The masjid has existed there for several decades. Copies of Gazette and Jamabandi were provided to DDA. The Board told DDA that the local Muslims were apprehending demolition of masjid by DDA and requested it that no demolition should take place as it would be illegal and will violate the religious rights of Muslims.

Now the demolition has occurred under the pretext of Delhi High Court order dated 9 July 2008 in WP© No. 9358 of 2006. This writ was filed in 2006 by the Jangpura Residents Association so that the unauthorized construction and encroachment on the adjoining Nala and the public land could be removed and it could be restored as green area. Since then MCD has been intermittently submitting status reports to the High Court. The court order further observed that the status report dated 30 July 2007 shows that the de-silting of the Nala was completed in June 2007. Encroachments had been removed and the land had been developed. Later, on 7 July 2008, Jangpura Residents Association filed a fresh application before the High Court for issue of directions to the respondents to remove all other structures including the masjid. However, having examined the photographs filed by the Association it appeared to the Court that most of the unauthorized structures have been removed and there is a boundary wall constructed to ensure that no further encroachment takes place. It is stated by the counsels for the Petitioners that any further grievance that the Petitioner may have, including those made in the present application, will be promptly looked into and appropriate action taken thereon. ‘In view of this statement, this Court does not consider it necessary to continue to monitor the progress of the implementation of its directions.’

Thus, the High Court did not order the demolition of the masjid. The Lt. Governor, DDA and the Delhi Government Home Department have not yet divulged the minutes of the meeting of the Religious Committee held on 16 June 2009 nor the names and contact details of those who attended the meeting. On the other hand, the Delhi Wakf Board had informed DDA on 26 Oct 2010 that the 30-year-old masjid is located at a land owned by Delhi Wakf Board as per 35-year-old gazette notification and the Jamabandi of 1947-48. Even then, using massive police force, DDA committed the gross illegality injuring the sentiments of millions of Indian Muslims.

Muslims have thus started feeling that the current governments in Delhi and at the Centre have no place for them in their heart. Sachar Committee report  and PM’s 15 Point Programme for Minorities worked as a show piece. These have mostly not been implemented. Muslims are not nominated @ 13.4 % wherever the Government has discretion. Government officers are not sensitized toward Muslims. Many a time their prejudice continues against Muslims as in the case of Masjid Noor of Jangpura, New Delhi. The officials found guilty for this demolition should be punished. Masjid should be reconstructed. Monitoring Committees of Muslims and other minorities should be constituted to oversee the implementation of the welfare schemes. 

Related documents:
Jangpura Masjid DDA forwarding note
Jangpura masjid Delhi Home Dept letter to DDA
Jangpura Masjid Delhi Wakf Board letter to DDA
Jangpura Masjid High Court Order
Jangpura Masjid Land Gazette
Jangpura Masjid LG Forwarding Letter of ZFI Petition to DDA
Jangpura Masjid LG's letter to DDA
Jangpura Masjid ZFI RTI Petition to LG

Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood is President, Zakat Foundation of India, Delhi and can be reached at info@zakatindia.org