UP Waqf Board Says Mosque Destroyed in Barabanki, DM Says Acted Against Illegal Structure

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Authorities in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district have bulldozed a century-old mosque in the name of “removal of encroachment”, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board said on Tuesday.

The body — the mosque was registered with it — said the demolition in Ram Sanehi Ghat area was carried out against an order of the high court. The board added it will approach the high court against the action, demanded the mosque be reinstated and sought a judicial probe against officials involved in the drive.

Issuing a statement, District Magistrate Adarsh Singh said the stakeholders were issued a notice on March 15 and asked to make submissions regarding ownership, following which residents of the complex fled. The administration took control of the premises on Tuesday due to security issues, he said.

“The parties involved in the case of an illegal housing complex built inside the premises of house of SDM were sent notice on 15-03-2021 and were given a chance to put their side regarding the ownership issue. Post which, people residing in the complex had fled. Due to security issues of the questionable complex, a team of administration had taken control of the premises on 18-03-2021,” the statement read.

“As per the orders of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court regarding writ 7948 mb of 2021 on 02-04-2021, the questionable complex was found to be illegal. On the basis of which a case was registered in the court of SDM Ram Sanehi Ghat. The judicial orders of the court have been implemented on 17-05-2021m,” the DM further said.

In an official release dated May 18, the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board termed Monday’s incident “a misuse of power”.

“This act is against law, misuse of power and utter violation of the clear orders dated 24.4.2021 passed by the Honourable High Court. The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board will immediately approach the Honourable High Court and demanding restoration of the mosque, high-level judicial enquiry and action against the guilty officials,” Zufar Farooqui, chairman of the board, said in the release.

He condemned the “illegal” action by the “Tehsil and District Administration”.

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