On September 30, authorities finally demolished the illegal mosque in the Khand-Khala Koti Colony that was in close proximity to the Tehri Dam. However, there were some media reports and social media posts that claimed that the mosque has been ‘shifted’ and not ‘removed’.
A report published by News18 on September 30, claimed that the mosque was being shifted to Baurari. The report said that the decision to shift the mosque was taken on the basis of mutual consent between the administration and the mosque committee.
According to Hindi New18, the decision to demolish the illegal mosque, which was built in 2001 by illegally seizing the land, is now in the hands of the minority commission, which will decide whether the structure will be demolished or not. For the time being, however, an exercise to relocate this mosque has begun in order to maintain social harmony.
The report added that the goods and tin-shed structures etc. are being removed from the mosque, pictures of which are also coming up on social media sites.
Many social media users reposted the same news, believing that the mosque had not been razed but had been relocated to Baurari.
It is shifted to other place. https://t.co/f94VbHgFqU— Kamal (@Kamal36754111) October 1, 2021
Did you guys also read the same news about Tehri Dam 🤲… or something totally different?— Neta Ji (@AapGhumaKeLeL0) October 1, 2021
This is the actual news. pic.twitter.com/qo7kNFIlnr
A Twitter user @UltimateGuruJi, tried to call out OpIndia for reporting that the authorities finally demolished the illegal mosque in the Khand-Khala Koti Colony that was in close proximity to the Tehri Dam.
सत्य पूरा काहे नहीं बता रहे हो कि उत्तराखंड के टिहरी डैम पर बनी अवैध मस्जिद को वहां से हटाकर बौराडी टिहरी में अब अधिकारी रुप से शिफ्ट किया जा रहा।— #UltimateGuruJi🇮🇳 (@UltimateGuruJi) October 1, 2021
यदि @pushkardhami सरकार का यही रवैया रहा तो देवभूमि उत्तराखंड की जनता भी वोट देते समय अपना रवैया दिखाएगी।#उत्तराखंड_मांगे_भू_कानून https://t.co/QrJfD6IzNO
The Tehri Gharwal Police of Uttarakhand has, however, confirmed that the mosque was fully demolished and that no new mosque has been built in its place. In a Facebook post, Tehri police said that owing to the joint efforts of the District Tehri Garhwal administration and the state police, the Khand-Khala Masjid issue, which was illegally built by encroaching the land allocated to the tourist department, was peacefully resolved. The structure, which was in close proximity to the dam, was completely removed and no new mosque has been built anywhere else at the moment.
The Tehri police, in its Facebook post, warned people to not fall for misleading messages being spread on social media.
The OpIndia impact: hashtag #RemoveTehriMosque started trending on social media
It may be noted that OpIndia was the first news portal to raise the issue. On September 27, OpIndia had reached out to the locals and brought to the fore the problems being faced by them because of the mosque. We spoke to Akshat Biljwan, the person leading the protests, to know more about the case. On September 6, Akshat and other members of the Hindu community of the Khand-Khala Koti Colony area started protests against the illegal mosque that has been built near the Tehri Dam by encroaching the land allocated to the tourist department.
Since the report was published in OpIndia, hashtag #RemoveTehriMosque had started 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.
On September 30, Akshat Biljwan, the person who had lead the protests launched by local Hindus against the mosque, called us up and said that the coverage caused a nationwide uproar over the illegal mosque, and finally, the administration decided to remove it.
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.
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.