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Uttarakhand: Illegal mosque built near Tehri dam finally removed by authorities

It is notable here that the district administration and the Tourism Department which owns the land had already carried out inspections and had ordered the removal of the illegal mosque. But the state minority commission had taken up the issue and thus the removal was delayed.

On September 30, authorities finally demolished the illegal mosque in the Khand-Khala Koti Colony that was in close proximity to the Tehri Dam. Recently, OpIndia has covered the problems faced by the locals because of the mosque.

In a conversation with OpIndia, Akshat Biljwan, the activist who was leading the protests, said that the coverage caused a nationwide uproar over the illegal mosque, and finally, the administration decided to remove it.

Notably, since the report was published in OpIndia, hashtag #RemoveTehriMosque was trending on social media. The netizens echoed the demand of the locals to remove the illegal mosque and tagged Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami to take swift action in the case.

Today, Akshat called OpIndia and informed that the mosque was being demolished. He also shared videos of the demolition process in which the temporary structure that had been standing there for the last 20 years was being removed from the site. The structure was encroaching upon government land and locals have been objecting to it for a long time.

Akshat, in a video message, thanked all the Hindu organizations, including Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Hindu Jagran Manch, for the support they had provided in the case. He also thanked the administration for taking action on the illegal mosque. In his message, Akshat said, “I would also like to thank the Muslim community in the region for the support they have provided in getting the illegal structure removed.”

The Tehri Dam illegal mosque case

In the early 2000s, during the construction, the company (JP) that was building the dam built a temporary mosque for the Muslim workers. After completing the project, the company and the workers went away, but the temporary mosque was not removed. Local leaders, Hindu organizations and locals have raised their voices against the mosque several times in the past, but no action was taken to remove the structure.

The locals claimed that on namaz days, the structure caused a large gathering in the area and several incidents of harassment of school and college going girls have been reported.

In the first week of September 2021, locals led by Akshat and Hindu organisations started a new phase of protests against the mosque. It is notable here that the district administration and the Tourism Department which owns the land had already carried out inspections and had ordered the removal of the illegal mosque. All other illegal structures in the area like temporary shops etc were already removed, but the illegal mosque kept standing.

Interestingly, the administration of the mosque filed an application with the Uttarakhand minority commission against the demand of the locals.

Acting on the plea, the minority commission summoned the local authorities, and the demolition order was derailed. On September 25, SDM met the protestors and promised that action would be taken as soon as possible as the Tourist Department, which owned the land, had deemed the structure illegal. However, SDM also stated the fact that as the minority commission was involved, the locals may have to wait for the structure to get removed.

After the report got published in OpIndia, the issue was raised on social media at the national level by the netizens. Questions were asked as to why the state minority commission is trying to intervene in the due process of removal of an illegal structure.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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