The district administration of Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district demolished a Mosque situated near National Highway 58. Incidentally, due to its presence, the completion of a road flyover’s construction was delayed for over 10 years. The impasse was finally broken on Thursday via the mosque’s removal under heavy security cover. The Mosque was situated in the district’s Singhavali village.
What made the Mosque’s removal from near the highway more imperative was the fact that more than 80 people have died due to road accidents owing to the incomplete construction of the flyover, which also caused heavy traffic jams in the area.
The area’s MP Sanjeev Balyan is considered as one of the main forces to persuade the Mosque’s removal and its subsequent construction at a new site. Balyan had even contacted Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari regarding this matter, who earlier had in turn written a letter to former CM Akhilesh Yadav, but to no avail.
In order to facilitate the move, the landowner of the plot, over which the Mosque was situated, was paid a compensation of Rs 35 lakh by the NHAI. Reports claim that the heightening controversy over the road accidents prompted the region’s Muslims to give permission for the mosque’s removal.
As per the landowner Mohammed Shamim, his one Bigha land was left to be acquired for the use by the Highway authorities, atop which a mosque and madrasa was situated. He claims that MP Balyan has assured their construction (at a different site).
A Jagran report though claims that the total compensation amount is actually Rs 49 lakhs, which is to be used for the construction of the mosque and madrasa at a new site. It also quoted MP Balyan as stating that the Mosque’s removal didn’t result in any communal tension, and was a result of mutual agreements and the compensation provided.
Such a delay in public interest works was also witnessed in Delhi when the tunnelling to connect Jama Masjid Metro station and the Delhi Gate station was delayed for a couple of years due to the presence of a mosque’s ruins.
This instance of a Mosque being shifted also might call into question the rigid stance of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), when it comes to asserting that the Babri Masjid cannot be sold, gifted or shifted. A few days ago it was reported that a personal law board member was expelled after he suggested otherwise.
This raises the question that if the Muzaffarnagar mosque can be shifted, then what makes the Babri Masjid so special? Does it prove that the rigidity against shifting the Babri Masjid is more to do with the underlying politics than actual religious principles at hand?