Uttar Pradesh: 16-century historic mosque demolished in Prayagraj under ‘road widening’ project

Shahi Masjid being demolished in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh on January 9. | TCN Photo

In August last year, the Allahabad high court had dismissed a writ petition moved against the proposed removal of Shahi Masjid. 

Sana Ejaz | TwoCircles.net 

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NEW DELHI — A historic mosque Shahi Masjid was demolished in the Saidabad market in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj, was demolished on January 9 under a road-widening project. 

The mosque was reportedly built in the 16th century during the reign of Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the Sur Empire in India. 

The demolition took place in the strong presence of security forces and officials of the Public Works Department. 

As per Mohammad Babul Hussain, imam of the mosque, the matter was being heard in the lower court and listed for hearing today (January 16). 

Hussain said the demolition was carried out even though the matter was taken to the lower court after Allahabad High Court had dismissed the petition for staying the proposed demolition in August last year. 

“We told the officials that the matter is going to the lower court but the mosque was still demolished,” Hussain was quoted by Dainik Jagran

Hussain said they filed an affidavit in court on January 10 following the demolition. 

The widening of Haldia GT Road in Prayagraj is carried out by the Public Works Department. A notice regarding the same was issued to the Shahi Masjid.

To save the historic mosque, locals had first gone to High Court, which in turn asked the petitioners to go to the Civil Court. 

The High Court in August 2022 had clarified that as per government report, the masjid has been constructed by encroaching government land. 

“We took the matter to the civil court, which rejected our stay. After this, we went to the lower court where the case is currently going on,” Imam said. 

The demolition of the mosque drew varied reactions from netizens on social media. 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s former chair of International Water Cooperation Ashok Swain shared a video of the mosque being bulldozed on his official Twitter handle.

Student activist Safoora Zargar took to Twitter to express her displeasure with the demolition. 

“Mosques in India are dispensable. 16th century Shahi Masjid demolished in UP for widening of the GT road just 2 days before the lower court was set to hear the matter,” she said in a tweet. 

In another tweet, activist Mohammad Habib said: “When they can demolish a 16th-century mosque for road widening even as the matter is listed in local Court. What is the justification for Courts to exist?

They have legalized demolishing Muslim Structures. This is serious & needs to be stopped.”

Sana Ejaz is an independent journalist from Bihar. She tweets