Court asks police to maintain peace during Shia procession


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday asked police to ensure peace in communally-sensitive Aliganj area near Qanati Masjid in south Delhi in view of Chehlum procession to be taken out Tuesday by members of the Shia community.

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Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also allowed the mosque management to install a temporary screen at the site while hearing a contempt petition filed by B.K. Dutt Residents Welfare Association (RWA) against Delhi Police, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Wakf Board.

The petition accused them of violating a 2005 High Court order after the civic body permitted the mosque to renovate a wall without the court’s permission.

“The SHO of Lodhi Colony police station is directed to ensure maintenance of law and order and peace in the area,” the court said.

“The petitioner (mosque’s management) shall be entitled to install a temporary pardah between the Bada Karbala and Chhoti Karbala to allow the women forming part of the congregation to maintain distance and pardah from men…,” it said.

In their contempt petition, the area’s residents said the court had in 2005 directed the civic agency to remove illegal construction around the Qanati Masjid and demarcate the area.

The court had passed an order not to carry out any construction without its permission but some people started construction near the mosque and offering prayers on government land, the residents alleged.

They opposed the NDMC’s letter issued to the management of the religious place recently permitting it to renovate the wall without the court’s permission.

During the last hearing, the court had asked the NDMC to submit its work plan for repair of the mosque by Monday.