HUDA demolishes Idgah in Gurgaon

    By Special Correspondent,

    Gurgaon/New Delhi: The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has demolished an Idgah-masjid in Palam Vihar in the district of Gurgaon in the National Capital Region (NCR) that according to locals was on Wakf land, but has illegally been acquired by HUDA.

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    According to Dr Asrarul Haque, a retired scientist with the Ministry of Environment and Forests and a resident of the locality, who is also a member of the mosque managing committee, said that the land is question is a Wakf property duly allotted to the Chauma Masjid Intezamia Committee since 2010. He added that HUDA legally has no jurisdiction as Wakf lands cannot be acquired by governments for any other use.

    HUDA allegedly plans to develop the land for commercial purposes.

    Dr Haque also informed TCN that they had written letters to the Haryana CM in May and were hopeful of amicable resolution. However, on 10 June 2013 HUDA officials came with a large posse of Police and with bulldozers in the morning and demolished all the structures on the site, including its gates, wall, arches meant to indicate the direction of prayer, the under construction store, guard room etc.

    Ironically this is not the first instance of illegal encroachment of Wakf lands in the state. TCN had earlier reported how Wakf properties in the state of Haryana are not safe owing to escalating rise in the praise of land. Increasingly we are seeing rise in number of such cases owing to ‘collusion’ between Wakf Board members, land mafia – and as in this case by government authorities.

    Before it was all destroyed.

    Background: Palam Vihar in Gurgaon is a recently developed colony, that earlier comprised of few villages surrounded by agricultural land. These villages had good number of Muslims before partition and hence naturally had mosques, graveyards etc. for their use. However, most of the Muslims had migrated during partition, and hence many of Wakf properties were left desolated.

    With recent development of the area some Muslim families also came in the new colony i.e. Palam Vihar. They needed mosque for their prayers and graveyard as the resting place after death. The old mosque was thus reclaimed, although with great difficulties, although a large chunk of land surrounding the mosque, which was encroached by some of the villagers, could not be retrieved. Part of the old graveyard land was also reclaimed for burial.

    As is the norm across country, the mosque and the graveyard are under the aegis of the Haryana Wakf Board. There was another mosque land (Idgah) belonging to the Haryana Wakf Board in the area. The said land has been in use by the Muslims of the area for their Id prayers and Friday prayers for very long time. There are documentary/photographic evidences of the same.

    In 2010 the land was duly allotted by the Haryana Wakf Board to the Chauma Masjid Intezamia Committee for use as Idgah Mosque (Letter No. Dev/Hy-4/167/97/HWB/2010 204, dated 09.04.2010). During last about one year the Chauma Masjid Intezamia Committee got a boundary wall constructed there to keep the area clean and free from dogs, pigs and other stray animals. Gates were provided for proper entry.

    The entire area was developed as a green area with lush green lawn and large nos. of trees. Also, a walkway was developed inside the area to facilitate residents of the area to use the same for morning/evening walk, most of the beneficiaries of which are non-Muslims. In addition, the entire area was developed for rain water harvesting, a first of its kind for any religious place. A store and a guard room were under construction to keep the prayer related articles and for the guard to stay for protection of the area.

    Dispute: This Idgah-masjid land is a place of worship and in principle the land should not be acquired for any other purpose. But knowing the facts and ignoring the legal position of the land the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and Land Acquisition Authority acquired the land in violation of Section 91 of the Wakf Act, 1995 and Standing Order No. 28 of Financial Commissioner dated 26.06.1909 (last revised on 09.03.1985) relating to acquisition of land for public purposes. Also, the Chairman, Joint Parliamentary Committee on Wakfs, during his visit to Haryana State on October 7, 2007, while presiding over a meeting of the Senior Officers of the State at Chandigarh, had categorically stated that the Wakf properties could not be sold or acquired or be used by the Government for providing public facilities.

    Another important issue is that no prior consultations were held although the same were required as per Para 9.1 of Financial Commissioner’s Standing Order No. 28. Further, the Wakf Act, (Act No. 43 of 1995), Section 91(4) makes it mandatory that any order passed under Section 31 or Section 32 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 shall be void if done without giving the Wakf Board an opportunity to be heard. Still the land was acquired by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

    Once the issue came to the notice of the Haryana Wakf Board, they regularly filed their objections with HUDA. But the HUDA authorities did not respond to the objections and went ahead with their acquisition process in clandestine manner.

    According to the functionaries of the Chauma Masjid Intezamia Committee, they came to know of the acquisition only last month and they approached the Minister of Minority Affairs, Government of India and the Administrator, Haryana Wakf Board. They immediately sent detailed letters to the Chief Minister of Haryana on 14th May and 21st May, 2013 to get the land released from the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). The Chauma Masjid Intezamia Committee was quite hopeful about the outcome and they were waiting for action on the letters.

    This is the only large open nature space in this neighborhood.

    But on 10th June, 2013 the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) officials came with a large posse of Police and with bulldozers etc. at about 5.00 AM in the morning and demolished all the structures present there including the boundary walls, gates, arches meant to indicate the direction of prayer, the under construction store, guard room etc. They even damaged trees.

    All these were done without any prior notice to the Haryana Wakf Board or the Chauma Masjid Intezamia Committee, which was allotted the land by the Haryana Wakf Board.

    Now the HUDA authorities have made it clear that they want to use the area for commercial purposes in violation of all the rules and regulations.

    Calling the demolition “totally illegal, one sided and biased,” Dr Asrarul Haque alleged, “Ironically, inside Gurgaon itself there are hundreds of acres of HUDA land under illegal encroachments, but their officials are not taking any action to reclaim them. HUDA officials were, however, overactive and without giving any opportunity to the Wakf Board or the Chauma Masjid Intezamia Committee to put their side and arguments they demolished everything that was there.”

    There are about 12954 Waf properties under the Haryana Wakf Board, most of which are mosques, madrasas, graveyards, dargah, etc.

    Wakf properties up for grab by land-mafia in Haryana: Mosques & graveyards too not safe