A viral video shows a dargah inside the Heritage Complex in Surat’s Chowkbazar area.
The video shows that new stones are laid in cement and the person who shot the video alleged that the dargah has come up overnight and that the same did not exist till recently and had been constructed overnight. “Today there has been encroachment here, tomorrow it will be at your place,” the person in the video can be heard saying. The ‘dargah’ is one of Gaiban Shah Walid.
As per sources, when the police were approached for details of the dargah which was looking into ownership of the same. The police said that the ownership records show that the land belongs to three parties. One party is Surat Municipal Corporation, one is government land and one party is a private party. On being probed who the private owner is, Surat Police official said that it is a trust with 5-6 trustees. The police said that they have reached out to city survey for further details on ownership of the land.
One Ghanibhai Desai, Gordhanbhai Chokhawala, Yashwantbhai Shukla, Ishwarlal Desai, Chunibhai Bhatt are trustees which partly owns the land. Essentially, the land of Heritage Complex has three separate owners. Part of it is owned by Surat Municipal Corporation, part is owned by Gujarat government and some part is owned by the trust mentioned above. To find out where the dargah falls under the authorities will need to know ownership of that particular area from city survey.
However, from the above information is seems that the waqf has not yet laid claim on the dargah. While some local media reports claim that the dargah has been there since many years, it cannot be independently verified.
Surat Municipal Corporation body is Waqf property
In November last year, the SMC headquarters Muglisara has been declared waqf property. It was reported that since the building was used by Haj pilgrims in 17th century and since it was donated by a Muslim ruler, citing Sharia, the state waqf board laid claims. Supreme Court’s declaration that ‘once a waqf, always a waqf’ was also relied on.